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The creation of heaven and earth. The golden age. The silver 
age. The brazen age. The iron age. The giant's war. The 
transformation of Daphne into a laurel. The transformation 
of 16 into a heifer. The eyes of Argus transformed into a 
peacock's train. The transformation of Syrinx into reeds. 

Op bodies chang'd to various forms I sing : 

Ye gods, from whom these miracles did spring, 

Inspire my numbers with celestial heat, 

Till I my long, laborious work complete: 

And add perpetual tenor to my rhymes, 5 

Deduc'd from Nature's birth to Caesar's times. 

Before the seas, and this terrestrial ball, 
And heav'n's high canopy, that covers all, 
One was the face of nature — if a face ; 
Rather a rude and indigested mass ; 10 

A lifeless lump, unfashion'd and unfram'd, 
Of jarring seeds; and justly Chaos nam'd. 
No sun was lighted up, the world to view ; 
No moon did yet her blunted horns renew ; 
Nor yet was earth suspended in the sky; 15 

Nor pois'd, did on her own foundations lie : 
Nor seas about their shores the arms had thrown ; 
But earth, and air, and water were in one. 
Thus air was void of light, and earth unstable, 
And water's dark abyss unnavigable. 20 

No certain form on any was imprest ; 
All were confus'd, and each disturb'd the rest. 
For hot and cold were in one body fixt; 
And soft with hard, and light with heavy mixt. 

But God, or Nature, while they thus contend, 25 
To these intestine discords put an end : 
Then earth from air, and seas from earth were driv'n, 
And grosser air sunk from ethereal heav'n. 
Thus disembroil'd, they take their proper place ; 
The next of kin, contiguously embrace; 30 

And foes are sunder'd, by a larger space. 


The force of fire ascended first on high, 

And took its dwelling in the vaulted sky : 

Then air succeeds, in lightness next to fire ; 

Whose atoms from unactive earth retire. 35 

Earth sinks beneath, and draws a num'rous throng 

Of pond'rous, thick, unwieldy seeds along* 

About her coasts unruly waters roar ; 

And, rising on a ridge, insult the shore. 

Thus when the God, whatever God was he, 40 

Had form'd the whole, and made the parte agree, 

That no unequal portions might be found, 

He moulded earth into a spacious round : 

Then with a breath, he gave the winds to blow ; 

And bade the congregated waters flow. 45 

He adds the running springs, and standing lakes ; 

And bounding banks for winding rivers makes. 

Some part in earth are swallow'd up; the most 

In ample oceans disembogu'd, are lost. 

He shades the woods, the valleys he restrains 50 

With rocky mountains, and extends the plains. 

And as five zones th' ethereal regions bind, 
Five, correspondent, are to earth assign'd : 
The sun with rays, directly darting down, 
Fires all beneath, and fries the middle zone : 55 

The two beneath the distant poles, complain 
Of endless winter, and perpetual rain. 
Betwixt th' extremes, two happier climates hold 
The temper that partakes of hot and cold. 
The fields of liquid air, inclosing all, 60 

Surround the compass of this earthly ball : 
The lighter parts lie next the fires above ; 
The grosser near the wat'ry surface move : 
Thick clouds are spread, and storms engender there, 
And thunder's voice, which wretched mortals fear, 65 
And winds that on their wings cold winter bear. 
Nor were those blust'ring brethren left at large, , 

On seas and shores their fury to discharge : 
Bound as they are, and circumscrib'd in place, 
They rend the world, resistless, as they pa*ts ; 70 

And mighty marks of mischief leave behind ; 
Such is the rage of their tempestuous kiivd. 
First, Eurus to the rising morn is sent 

BOOK I. 5 

(The regions of the balmy Continent) ; 
And eastern realms, where early Persians run, 75 
To greet the blest appearance of the sun. 
Westward, the wanton Zephyr wings his flight, 
Pleas'd with the remnants of departing light : 
Fierce Boreas, with his offspring, issues forth 
T' invade the frozen waggon of the North : 80 

While frowning Auster seeks the southern sphere ; 
And rots, with endless rain , th' unwholesome year. 
High o'er the clouds, and empty realms of wind, 
The God a clearer spate for heav'n design'd ; 
Where fields of light, and liquid ether flow, 85 

Purg'd from the pond'rous dregs of earth below. 

Scarce had the Pow'r distinguish'd these, when 
The stars, no longer overlaid with weight, [straight 
Exert their heads from underneath the mass, 
And upward shoot, and kindle as they pass, 90 

And with diffusive light adorn their heavenly place. 
Then, every void of nature to supply, 
With forms of gods he fills the vacant sky: 
New herds of beasts, he sends the plains to share ; 
New colonies of birds to people air : 95 

And to their oozy beds the finny fish repair. 

A creature of a more exalted kind 
Was wanting yet, and then was Man design'd : 
Conscious of thought, of more capacious breast, 
For empire form'd, and fit to rule the rest : 100 

Whether with particles of heavenly fire 
The god of nature did his soul inspire, 
Or earth, but new-divided from the sky, 
And, pliant still, retain'd th 1 ethereal energy ; 
Which wise Prometheus temper'd into paste, 105 
And mixt with living streams the godlike image cast. 
Thus, while the mute creation downward bend 
Their sight, and to their earthy mother tend, 
Man looks aloft ; and with erected eyes, 
Beholds his own hereditary skies. 110 

From such rude principles our form began ; 
And earth was metamorphos'd into Man. 

The Golden Age was first; when man, yet new, 
No rule but uncorrupted reason knew ; 


And, with a native bent, did good pursue. 115 

Unforc'd by punishment, unaw'd by fear, 

His words were simple, and his soul sincere ; 

Needless was written law, when none oppress'd : 

The law of man was written in his breast : 

No suppliant crowds before the judge appear'd, 120 

No court erected yet, nor cause was heard ; 

But all was safe, for conscience was their guard. 

The mountain trees in distant prospect please, 

Ere yet the pine descended to the seas : 

Ere sails were spread, new oceans to explore ; 125 

And happy mortals, unconcern'd for more, 

Confin'd their wishes to their native shore. 

No walls were yet ; nor fence, nor mote, nor mound, 

Nor drum was heard, nor trumpet's angry sound ; 

Nor swords were forg'd ; but, void of care and crime, 

The soft creation slept away their time. 131 

The teeming earth, yet guiltless of the plough, 

And unprovok'd, did fruitful stores allow : 

Content with food, which nature freely bred, 

On wildings, and on strawberries they fed; 135 

Cornels and bramble-berries gave the rest, 

And falling acorns furnish'd out a feast. 

The flowers unsown, in fields and meadows reign'd; 

And western winds immortal spring maintain'd. 

In following years the bearded corn ensu'd, 140 

From earth unask'd, nor was that earth renew'd. 

From veins of valleys milk and nectar broke, 

And honey sweating through the pores of oak. 

But when good Saturn, banish'd from above, 
Was driv'n to hell, the world was under Jove. 145 
Succeeding times a Silver Age behold, 
Excelling brass, but more excell'd by gold. 
Then summer, autumn, winter did appear, 
And spring was but a season of the year. 
The sun his annual course obliquely made, 150 

Good days contracted, and enlarg'd the bad. 
Then air, with sultry heats, began to glow ; 
The wings of winds were clogg'd with ice and snow ; 
And shivering mortals, into houses driv'n, 
Sought shelter from th' inclemency of heav'n. 155 

BOOK I. 7 

Those houses, then, were caves, or homely sheds ; 
With twining osiers fenc'd, and moss their beds. 
Then ploughs, for seed, the fruitful furrows broke, 
And oxen labour'd first beneath the yoke. 

To this came next in course, the Brazen Age : 160 
A warlike offspring, prompt to bloody rage, 
Not impious yet : 

Hard Steel succeeded then : 

And stubborn as the metal were the men. 

Truth, modesty, and shame the world forsook ; 165 

Fraud, avarice, and force, their places took. 

Then sails were spread to every wind that blew, 

Raw were the sailors, and the depths were new : 

Trees, rudely hollow'd, did the waves sustain, 

Ere ships in triumph plough'd the wat'ry plain. 170 

Then landmarks limited to each his right ; 
For all before was common as the light: 
Nor was the ground alone requir'd to bear 
Her annual income to the crooked share, 
But greedy mortals, rummaging her store, 175 

Digg'd from her entrails first the precious ore, 
Which next to hell the prudent gods had laid, 
And that alluring ill to sight display'd. 
Thus cursed steel, and more accursed gold, 
Gave mischief birth, and made that mischief bold, 
And double death did wretched man invade, 181 

By steel assaulted, and by gold betray'd. 
Now (brandish'd weapons glittering in their hands) 
Mankind is broken loose from moral bands : 
No rights of hospitality remain; 185 

The guest, by him who harbour'd him, is slain. 
The son-in-law pursues the father's life ; 
The wife her husband murders, he the wife. 
The stepdame poLson for the son prepares; 
The son inquires into his father's years. 190 

Faith flies, and piety in exile mourns; 
And justice, here opprest, to heav'n returns. 

Nor were the gods themselves more safe above ; 
Against beleagur'd heav'n the Giants move. 
Hills pil'd on hills, on mountains mountains lie, 195 
To make their mad approaches to the sky. 


Till Jove, no longer patient, took his time 
T' avenge, with thunder, their audacious crime ; 
Red lightning play'd along the firmament, 
And their demolish'd works to pieces rent. 20© 

Sing'd with the flames, and with the bolts transfixt, 
With native earth their blood the monsters mixt: 
The blood, endu'd with animating heat, 
Did in th' impregnant earth new sons beget: 
They, like the seed from which they sprung accurst 
Against the gods immortal hatred nurs'd. 206 

An impious, arrogant, and cruel brood, 
Expressing their original from blood. 

Which when the King of Gods beheld from high 
(Withal revolving in his memory, 210 

What he himself had found on earth of late, 
Lycaon's guilt, and his inhuman treat), 
He sigh'd: nor longer with his pity strove; 
But kindled to a wrath becoming Jove : 
Then call'd a general council of the gods; 215 

Who, summon'd, issue from their blest abodes, 
And rill th' assembly with a shining train. 

A way there is, in heaven's expanded plain, 
Which, when the skies are clear, is seen below, 
And mortals, by the name of Milky, know. 220 

The groundwork is of stars ; through which the road 
Lies open to the Thunderer's abode. 
The gods of greater nations dwell around, 
And, on the right and left, the palace bound ; 
The commons where they can : the nobler sort, 225 
With winding-doors, wide open front the court. 
This place, as far as earth with heav'n may vie, 
I dare to call the Louvre of the sky. 

When all were plac'd, in seats distinctly known, 
And he, their father, had assum'd the throne, 230 
Upon his iv'ry sceptre first he leant, 
Then shook his head, that shook the firmament; 
Air, earth, and seas, obey'd th' almighty nod ; 
And, with a general fear, confess'd the God. 
At length, with indignation, thus he broke 235 

His awful silence, and the pow'rs bespoke: 

I was not more concern'd in that debate 
Of empire, when our universal state 

BOOK I. 9 

Was put to hazard, and the giant race 

Our captive skies were ready to embrace : 240 

For though the foe was fierce, the seeds of all 

Rebellion sprang from one original ; 

Now, wheresoever ambient waters glide, 

All are corrupt, and all must be destroy 'd. 

Let me this holy protestation make, — 245 

By hell, and hell's inviolable lake, 

I try'd whatever in the godhead lay : 

But gangrened members must be lopt away, 

Before the nobler parts are tainted to decay. 

There dwells below, a race of demi-gods, 250 

Of nymphs in waters, and of fawns in woods : 

Who, though not worthy yet in heav'n to live, 

Let 'em, at least, enjoy that earth we give. 

Can these be thought securely lodg'd below, 

When I myself, who no superior know — ■ 255 

I, who have heav'n and earth at my command, 

Have been attempted by Lycaon's hand? 

At this a murmur through the synod went, 
And, with one voice, they vote his punishment. — 
Thus, when conspiring traitors dar'd to doom 2C0 

The fall of Caesar, and, in him, of Rome, 
The nations tremble with a pious fear; 
All anxious for their earthly thunderer : 
Nor was their care, O Caesar, less esteem'd 
By thee, than that of heav'n for Jove was deem'd; 
Who with his hand, and voice, did first restrain 266 
Their murmurs, then resumed his speech again. 
The gods to silence were compos'd, and sate 
With reverence, due to his superior state. 

Cancel your pious cares ; already he 270 

Has paid his debt to justice, and to me. 
Yet what his crimes, and what my judgments were 
Remains for me thus briefly to declare. 
The clamours of this vile degen'rate age, 
The cries of orphans, and th' oppressor's rage, 275 
Had reach' d the stars: — I will descend, said I, 
In hope to prove this loud complaint a lie. 
Disguis' human shape, 1 travell'd round 
The world, and more than what I heard 1 found. 
O'er Msenalus I took my steepy way, 280 

B 2 


By caverns infamous for beasts of prey : 

Then cross'd Cyllene, and the piny shade, 

More infamous by curst Lyc'aon made. 

Dark night had cover'd heaven, and earth, before 

I enter'd his unhospitable door. 285 

Just at my entrance, I display'd the sign 

That somewhat was approaching of divine. 

The prostrate people pray; the tyrant grins, 

And, adding profanation to his sins, 

I'll try, said he, and if a god appear, 29f) 

To prove his deity shall cost him dear. 

'Twas late : the graceless wretch my death prepares, 

When I should soundly sleep, opprest with cares: 

This dire experiment he chose, to prove 

If I were mortal, or undoubted Jove : 205 

But first he had resolv'd to taste my pow'r : 

Not long before, but in a luckless hour 

Some legates, sent from the Molossian state, 

Were on a peaceful errand come to treat : 

Of these, he murders one; he boils the flesh, 300 

And lays the mangled morsels in a dish: 

Some part he roasts; then serves it up, so drest, 

And bids me welcome to this human feast. 

Mov'd with disdain, the table I o'erturn'd, 

And with avenging flames the palace burn'd. 305 

The tyrant in a fright for shelter gains 

The neighb'riug fields, and scours along the plains. 

Howling he fled, and fain he would have spoke ; 

But human voice his brutal tongue forsook. 

About his lips the gather'd foam he churns, 31 a 

And, breathing slaughters, still with rage he burns, 

But on the bleating flock his fury turns. 

His mantle, now his hide, with rugged hairs, 

Cleaves to his back ; a famish'd face he bears ; 

His arms descend, his shoulders sink away 315 

To multiply his legs for chace of prey. 

He grows a wolf; his hoariness remains, 

And the same rage in other members reign3. 

His eyes still sparkle in a narrower space ; 

His jaws retain the grin and violence of his face. 320 

This was a single ruin ; but not one 
Deserves so just a punishment alone. *' 

BOOK I. 11 

Mankind's a monster, and th' ungodly times 

Confed'rate into guilt, are sworn to crimes. 

All are alike involv'd in ill, and all 325 

Mast by the same relentless fury fall. 

Thus ended he ; the greater gods assent, 

By clamorous urging his severe intent ; 

The less fill up the cry for punishment. 

Yet still with pity they remember man, 330 

And mourn as much as heav'nly spirits can. 

They ask, when those were lost of human birth, 

What he would do with all this waste of earth : 

If his dispeopled world he would resign 

To beasts, a mute, and more ignoble line ? 335 

Neglected altars must no longer smoke, 

If none were left to worship and invoke. 

To, whom the father of the gods reply'd: 

Lay that unnecessary fear aside ; 

Mine be the care, new people to provide. 340 

I will from wondrous principles ordain 

A race unlike the first, and try my skill again. 

Already had he toss'd the flaming brand, 
And roll'd the thunder in his spacious hand, 
Preparing to discharge on seas and land; 345 

But stopt, for fear, thus violently driv'n, 
The sparks should catch his axle-tree of heaven. 
Rememb'ring, in the fates, a time when fire 
Should to the battlements of heav'n aspire ; 
And all his blazing worlds above should burn, 350 
And all th' inferior globe to cinders turn. 
His dire artill'ry thus dismist, he bent 
His thoughts to some securer punishment: 
Concludes to pour a wat'ry deluge down, 
And what he durst not burn, resolves to drown. 355 

The northern breath, that freezes floods, he binds ; 
With all the race of cloud-dispelling winds: 
The south he loos'd, who night and horror brings; 
And fogs are shaken from his flaggy wings. 
From his divided beard two streams he pours, 300 
His head, and rheumy eyes distil in show'rs. 
With rain his robe and heavy mantle flow : 
And lazy mists are low'ring on his brow : 
Still as he swept along, with his clench'd fist 


He squeez'd the clouds, th' imprison'd clouds resist : 
The skies, from pole to pole, with peals resound; 366 
And show'rs enlarg'd, come pouring on the ground. 
Then clad in colours of a various dye, 
Junonian Iris breeds a new supply 
To feed the clouds ; impetuous rain descends ; 370 
The bearded corn beneath the burthen bends : 
Defrauded clowns deplore their perish'd grain, 
And the long labours of the year are vain. 

Nor from his patrimonial heaven alone 
Is Jove content to pour his vengeance down ; 375 

Aid from his brother of the seas he craves, 
To help him with auxiliary waves. 
The wat'ry tyrant calls his brooks and floods, 
Who roll from mossy caves (their moist abodes), 
And with perpetual urns his palace fill : 380 

To whom in brief, he thus imparts his will : 

Small exhortations need ; your pow'rs employ: 
And this bad world, so Jove requires, destroy. 
Let loose the reins to all your wat'ry store ; 
Bear down the dams, and open ev'ry door. 385 

The floods, by nature enemies to land, 
And proudly swelling with their new command, 
Remove the living stones that stopp'd their way, 
And gushing from their source augment the sea. 389 
Then, with his mace, their monarch struck the ground; 
With inward trembling, earth receiv'd the wound, 
And rising streams a ready passage found. 
Th' expanded waters gather on the plain : *• 
They float the fields, and overtop the grain ; 
Then rushing onwards, with a sweepy sway, 395 

Bear flocks, and folds, and lab'ring hinds away. 
Nor safe their dwellings were, for, sapp'd by floods, 
Their houses fell upon their household gods. 
The solid piles, too strongly built to fall, 
High o'er their heads behold a wat'ry wall: 400 

Now seas and earth were in confusion lost; 
A world of waters, and without a coast. 

One climbs a cliff; one in his boat is borne : 
And ploughs above, where late he sow'd his corn. 
Others o'er chimney-tops and turrets row, 405 

And drop their anchors on the meads below; 


Or downward driv'n, they bruise the tender vine, 

Or tost aloft, are knock'd against a pine. 

And where of late the kids had cropt the grass, 

The monsters of the deep now take their place. 410 

Insulting Nereids on the cities ride, 

And wond'ring dolphins o'er the palace glide. 

On leaves, and masts of mighty oaks they browse, 

And their broad fins entangle in the boughs. 

The frighted wolf now swims amongst the sheep ; 415 

The yellow lion wanders in the deep : 

His rapid force no longer helps the boar : 

The stag swims faster than he ran before, 

The fowls, long beating on their wings in vain, 

Despair of land, and drop into the main. 420 

Now hills and vales no more distinction know, 

And levell'd nature lies oppress'd below : 

The most of mortals perish in the flood, 

The small remainder dies for want of food. 

A mountain of stupendous height there stands 425 
Betwixt th' Athenian and Boeotian lands, 
The bound of fruitful fields, while fields they were, ' 
But then a field of waters did appear : 
Parnassus is its name ; whose forky rise 
Mounts through the clouds, and mates the lofty skies. 
High on the summit of this dubious cliff, 431 

Deucalion wafting, moor'd his little skiff. 
He with his wife were only left behind 
Of perish'd man : they two were human kind. 
The mountain nymphs, and Themis they adore, 435 
And from her oracles relief implore. 
The most upright of mortal men was he ; 
The most sincere, and holy woman, she. 

When Jupiter, surveying earth from high, 
Beheld it in a lake of water lie, 440 

That where so many millions lately liv'd, 
But two, the best of either sex, surviv'd ; 
He loos'd the northern wind ; fierce Boreas flies, 
To puff away the cloudB, and purge the skies: 
Serenely, while he blows, the vapours driv'n, 445 
Discover heav'n to earth, and earth to heav'n. 
The billows fall, while Neptune lays his mace 
On the rough sea, and smooths its furrow 'd face. 


Already Triton, at his call, appears 

Above the waves ; a Tyrian robe he wears; 450 

And in his hand a crooked trumpet bears. 

The sov'reign bids him peaceful sounds inspire ; 

And give the waves the signal to retire. 

His writhen shell he takes ; whose narrow vent 

Grows by degrees into a large extent ; 455 

Then gives it breath : the blast with doubling sound 

Runs the wide circuit of the world around : 

Tbe sun first heard it, in his early east, 

And met the rattling echoes in the west. 

The waters, list'ning to the trumpet's roar, 4G0 

Obey tbe summons, and forsake tbe shore. 

A thin circumference of land appears ; 
And eartb, but not at once, her visage rears, 
And peeps upon the seas from upper grounds ; 
The streams, but just contained within their bounds, 
By slow degrees into their channels crawl; 466 

And earth increases, as the waters fall. 
In longer time the tops of trees appear, 
Which mud on their dishonour'd branches bear. 

At length the world was all restor'd to view ; 470 
But desolate, and of a sickly hue : 
Nature beheld herself, and stood aghast, 
A dismal desert, and a silent waste. 

Which when Deucalion, with a piteous look 
Beheld, he wept, and thus to Pyrrha spoke : 475 

Oh wife, oh sister, oh of all thy kind 
The best, and only creature left behind, 
By kindred, love, and now by dangers join'd ; 
Of multitudes, who breath'd the common air, 
We two remain ; a species in a pair : 460 

The rest the seas have swallow'd; nor have we 
Ev'n of this wretched life a certainty. 
The clouds are still above; and, while I speak, 
A second deluge o'er our heads may break. 
Should I be snatch'dfrom hence, and thou remain, 
Without relief, or partner of thy pain, 486 

How could'st thou such a wretched life sustain? 
Should I be left, and thou be lost, the sea 
That bury'd her I lov'd, should bury me. 
Oh, could our father his old arts inspire, 491) 

BOOK I. 15 

And make me heir of his informing fire, 
That so I might abolish'd man retrieve, 
And perish'd people in new souls might live ! 
But Heav'n is pleas'd, nor ought we to complain, 
That we, th' examples of mankind, remain. 495 

He said : the careful couple join their tears, 
And then invoke the god« with pious pray'rs. 
Thus, in devotion having eas'd their grief, 
From sacred oracles they seek relief; 
And to Cephysus* brook their way pursue : 500 

The stream was troubled, but the ford they knew. 
With living waters, in the fountain bred, 
They sprinkle first their garments, and their head, 
Then took the way which to the temple led. 
The roofs were all defil'd with moss and mire, 505 
The desert altars void of solemn fire. 
Before the Gradual, prostrate they ador'd ; 
The pavement kiss'd, and thus the saint implor'd : 

O righteous Themis, if the pow'rs above 
By pray'rs are bent to pity, and to love; 510 

If human miseries can move their mind; 
If yet they can forgive, and yet be kind : 
Tell how we may restore, by second birth, 
Mankind, and people desolated earth. 

Then thus the gracious goddess, nodding, said : 515 
Depart, and with your vestments veil your head ; 
And stooping lowly down, with loosen'd zones, [bones. 
Throw each behind your backs, your mighty mother's 

Amaz'd the pair, and mute with wonder stand, 
Till Pyrrha first refus'd the dire command. 520 

Forbid it heav'n, said she, that I should tear 
Those holy reliques from the sepulchre ! 

They ponder'd the mysterious words again, 
For some new sense; and long they sought in vain : 
At length Deucalion clear'd his cloudy brow, 525 

And said, The dark enigma will allow 
A meaning, which if well I understand, 
From sacrilege will free the god's command : 
This earth our mighty mother is ; the stones 
In her capacious body, are her bones : 530 

These we must cast behind. — With hope and fear 
The woman did the new solution hear: 


The man diffides in his own augury, 

And doubts the gods; yet both resolve to try. 

Descending from the mount, they first unbind 535 
Their vests, and, veil'd, they cast the stone3 behind: 
The stones (a miracle to mortal view, 
But long tradition makes it pass for true) 
Did first the rigour of their kind expel, 
And suppled into softness, as they fell ; 540 

Then swell'd, and swelling, by degrees grew warm ; 
And toolc the rudiments of human form. 
Imperfect shapes: in marble such are seen, 
When the rude chisel does the man begin ; 
While yet the roughness of the stone remains, 545 
Without the rising muscles, and the veins. 
The sappy parts, and next resembling juice, 
Were tum'd to moisture, for the body's use, 
Supplying humours, blood, and nourishment; 
The rest, too solid to receive a bent, 550 

Converts to bones ; and what was once a vein, 
Its former name and nature did retain. 
By help of pow'r divine, in little space, 
What the man threw, assum'd a manly face ; 
And what the wife, renew'd the female race. 555 

Hence we derive our nature; born to bear 
Laborious life, and harden'd into care. 

The rest of animals, from teeming earth 
Produc'd, in various forms receiv'd their birth. 
The native moisture, in its close retreat, 560 

Digested by the sun's ethereal heat, 
As in a kindly womb, began to breed ; 
Then swell'd, and quicken'd by the vital seed. 
And some in less, and some in longer space, 
Were ripen'd into form, and took a several face. 565 
Thus when the Nile from Pharian fields is fled, 
And seeks, with ebbing tides, his ancient bed, 
The fat manure with heav'nly fire is warm'd : 
And crusted creatures, as in wombs are form'd; 
These, when they turn the glebe, the peasants find ; 
Some rude, and yet unfinished in their kind: 571 

Short of their limbs, a lame imperfect birth; 
One half alive, and one of lifeless earth. 

For heat, and moisture, when in bodies join'd, 

BOOK I. 17 

The temper that results from either kind 275 

Conception makes ; and, fighting till they mix, 
Their mingled atoms in each other fix. 
Thus nature's hand the genial bed prepares 
With friendly discord, and with fruitful wars. 

From hence the surface of the ground, with mud 
And slime besmear'd (the faeces of the flood), 581 

Receiv'd the rays of heav'n; and sucking in 
The seeds of heat, new creatures did begin : 
Some were of sev'ral sorts produc'd before, 
But of new monsters, earth created more, 585 

Unwillingly ; but yet she brought to light 
Thee, Python, too, the wond'ring world to fright, 
And the new nations, with so dire a sight; 
So monstrous was his bulk, so large a space 
Did his vast body and long train embrace. 590 

Whom Phoebus basking on a bank espy'd: 
Ere now the god his arrows had not try'd 
But on the trembling deer, or mountain goat; 
At this new quarry he prepares to shoot. 
Though ev'ry shaft took place, he spent the store 595 
Of his full quiver; and 'twas long before 
Th' expiring serpent wallow'd in his gore. 
Then, to preserve the fame of such a deed, 
For Python slain, he Pythian games decreed, 
Where noble youths for mastership should strive, COO 
To quoit, to run, and steeds and chariots drive. 
The prize was fame : in witness of renown, 
An oaken garland did the victor crown. 
The laurel was not yet for triumphs born ; 
But ev'ry green alike by Phoebus worn, 605 

Did, with promiscuous grace, his flowing locks adorn. 

The first and fairest of his loveE, was she 
Whom not blind fortune, but the dire decree 
Of angry Cupid forc'd him to desire : 
Daphne her name, and Peneus was her sire. 610 

Swell'd with the pride, that new success attends, 
He sees the stripling, while his bow he bends, 
And thus insults him ; Thou lascivious boy, 
Are arms like these for children to employ 1 
Know, sueh achievements are my proper claim ; Q15 


Due to my vigour and unerring aim : 

Resistless are my shafts, and Python late, 

In such a feather'd death has found his fate. 

Take up the torch (and lay my weapons by), 

With that the feeble souls of lovers fry. 620 

To whom the son of Venus thus reply 'd: 
Phoebus, thy shafts are sure on all beside, 
But mine on Phoebus, mine the fame shall be 
Of all thy conquests, when I conquer thee. 

He said, and soaring, swiftly wing'd his flight; 625 
Nor stopp'd, but on Parnassus' airy height. 
Two diffrent shafts he from his quiver draws : 
One to repel desire, and one to cause ; 
One shaft is pointed with refulgent gold ; 
To bribe the love, and make the lover bold; 630 

One blunt, and tipt with lead, whose base allay 
Provokes disdain, and drives desire away. 
The blunted bolt against the nymph he drest ; 
But with the sharp transfix'd Apollo's breast. 

Th' enamour'd deity pursues the chace; 635 

The scornful damsel shuns his loath'd embrace : 
In hunting beasts of prey, her youth employs; 
And Phoebe rivals in her rural joys. 
With naked neck she goes, and shoulders bare ; 
And with a fillet binds her flowing hair. 640 

By many suitors sought, she mocks their pains, 
And still her vow'd virginity maintains ; 
Impatient of a yoke, the name of bride 
She shuns, and hates the joys she never try'd. 
On wilds and woods she fixes her desire ; 645 

Nor knows what youth and kindly love inspire. 
Her father chides her oft; — Thou ow'st (says he) 
A husband to thyself, a son to me. 

She, like a crime, abhors the nuptial bed; 
She glows with blushes, and she hangs her head ; 650 
Then casting round his neck her tender arms, 
Soothes him with blandishments and filial charms : — 
Give me, my lord (she said), to live and die 
A spotless maid, without the marriage tie. 
'Tis but a small request; I beg no more 655 

Than what Diana's father gave before. 

The good old sire was soften'd to consent ; 

BOOK I. 19 

But said her wish would prove her punishment: 
For so much youth, and so much beauty join'd, 
Oppos'd the state, which her desires design'd. 660 

The God of Light, aspiring to her bed, 
Hopes what he seeks, with flatt'ring fancies fed ; 
And is, by his own oracles, misled. 
And as in empty fields the stubble burns, 
Or nightly travellers, when day returns, 665 

Their useless torches on dry hedges throw, 
That catch the flames, and kindle all the row ; 
So burns the god, consuming in desire, 
And feeding in his breast a fruitless fire : 
Her well-turn'd neck he view'd (her neck wa9 bare), 
And on her shoulders her dishevell'd hair; — 671 
O, were it comb'd (said he), with what a grace 
Would ev'ry waving curl become her face ! 
He view'd her eyes, like heav'nly lamps that shone ; 
He view'd her lips, too sweet to view alone ; 675 

Her taper fingers, and her panting breast; 
He praises all he sees, and for the rest 
Believes the beauties yet unseen are best. 

Swift as the wind the damsel fled away, 
Nor did for these alluring speeches stay : , 680 

Stay, nymph (he cry'd), I follow, not a foe : 
Thus from the lion trips the trembling doe ; 
Thus from the wolf the frightened lamb removes, 
And, from pursuing falcons, fearful doves ; 684 

Thou shunn'st a god, and shunn'st a god that loves. 
Ah, lest some thorn should pierce thy tender foot, 
Or thou should'st fall in flying my pursuit; 
To sharp uneven ways thy steps decline; 
Abate thy speed, and I will bate of mine. 
Yet think from whom thou dost so rashly fly : 690 
Nor basely born, nor shepherd's swain am I. 
Perhaps thou know'st not my superior state; 
And from that ignorance proceeds thy hate. 
Me Claros, Delphi, Tenedos obey; 
These hands the Patareian sceptre sway. 695 

The king of gods begot me : what shall be, 
Or is, or ever was, in fate, I see. 
Mine, is the invention of the charming lyre ; 
Sweet notes, and heav'nly numbers I inspire, 


Sure is my bow, unerring is my dart ; 700 

But, ah! more deadly his, who pierc'd my heart. 
Med'cine is mine; what herbs and simples grow 
In fields, and forests, all their pow'rs I know; 
And am the great physician call'd, below. 
Alas ! that fields and forests can afford 70.5 

No remedies to heal their love-sick lord ; 
To cure the pains of love, no plant avails; 
And his own physic, the physician fails. 

She heard not half, so furiously she flies ; 
And on her ear th' imperfect accent dies. 710 

Fear gave her wings : and as she fled, the wind 
Increasing, spread her flowing hair behind, 
And left her legs and thighs expos'd to view ; 
Which made the god more eager to pursue. 
The god was young, and was too hotly bent 715 

To lose his time in empty compliment : 
But led by love, and fir'd with such a sight, 
Impetuously pursu'd his near delight. 

As when th' impatient greyhound slipt from far, 
Bounds o'er the glebe to course the fearful hare, 720 
She in her speed does all her safety lay ; 
And he with double speed pursues the prey ; 
O'erruns her at the sitting turn, and licks 
His chaps in vain, and blows upon the flix : 
She 'scapes, and for the neighb'ring covert strives, 
And gaining shelter, doubts if yet she lives : 72G 

If little things with great we may compare, 
• Such was the god, and such the flying fair. 
She urg'd by fear, her feet did swiftly move, 
Bat he more swiftly, who was urg'd by love. 73Q 

He gathers ground upon her in the chase ; 
Now breathes upon her hair, with nearer pace ; 
And just is fast'ning on the wish'd embrace. 

The nymph grew pale, and in a mortal fright, 
Spent with the labour of so long a flight; 735 

And now despairing, cast a mournful look 
Upon the streams of her paternal brook : — 
O help (she cry'd), in this extremest need, 
If water-gods are deities indeed : 

Gape, earth, and this unhappy wretch entomb; 740 
Or change my form, whence all my sorrows come. 

BOOK I. 21 

Scarce had she finish'd, when her feet she found 
Benumb'd with cold, and fasten'd to tLe ground : 
A filmy rind about her body grows ; 
Her hair to leaves, her arms extend to boughs : 745 
The nymph is all into a laurel gone: 
The smoothness of her skin remains alone. 
Yet Phoebus loves her still, and casting round 
Her bole, his arms, some little warmth he found. 
The tree still panted in th' unfinish'd part : 750 

Not wholly vegetive, and heav'd her heart. 
He fix'd his lips upon the trembling rind ; 
It swerv'd aside, and his embrace declin'd. 
To whom the god : Because thou can'st not be 
My mistress, I espouse thee for my tree : 755 

Be thou the prize of honour and renown ; 
The deathless poet, and the poem crewn. 
Thou shalt the Boman festivals adorn, 
And, after poets, be by victors worn. 
Thou shalt returning Caesar's triumph grace ; 760 
When pomps shall in a long procession pass ; 
Wreath'd on the posts before his palace wait; 
And be the sacred guardian of the gate. 
Secure "from thunder, and unharm'd by Jove, 
Unfading as th' immortal pow'rs above : 765 

And as the locks of Phoebus are unshorn, 
So shall perpetual green thy boughs adorn. 
The grateful tree was pleas'd with what he said ; 
And shook the shady honours of her head. 

An ancient forest in Thessalia grows; 770 

Which Tempe's pleasing valley does inclose. 
Through this the rapid Peneus takes his course ; 
From Pindus rolling with impetuous force ; 
Mists from the river's mighty fall arise ; 
And deadly damps inclose the cloudy skies : 775 

Perpetual fogs are hanging o'er the wood ; 
And sounds of waters deaf the neighbourhood. 
Deep, in a rocky cave, he makes abode 
(A mansion proper for a mourning god): 
Here he gives audience ; issuing out decrees 780 

To rivers, his dependent deities. 
On this occasion hither they resort, 


To pay their homage, and to make their court. 

All doubtful, whether to congratulate 

His daughter's honour, or lament her fate. 785 

Sperchseus, crown'd with poplar, first appears ; 

Then old Apidanus came crown'd with years; 

Enipeus turbulent; Amphrysos tame; 

And JE&s last with lagging waters came. 

Then, of his kindred brooks, a num'rous throng 790 

Condole his loss ; and bring their urns along. 

Not one was wanting of the wat'ry train, 

That fill'd his flood, or mingled with the main : 

But Inachus, who in his cave, alone, 

Wept not another's losses, but his own. 795 

Por his dear lb, whether stray'd, or dead, 

To him uncertain, doubtful tears he shed. 

He sought her through the world ; but sought in vain ; 

And no where finding, rather fear'd her slain. 

Her, just returning from her father's brook, 800 
Jove had beheld with a desiring look ; — 
And, O fair daughter of the flood (he said), 
Worthy alone of Jove's imperial bed, 
Happy whoever shall those charms possess ; 
The King of Gods (nor is thy lover less) 805 

Invites thee to yon cooler shades ; to shun 
The scorching rays of the meridian sun. 
Nor shalt thou tempt the dangers of the grove 
Alone, without a guide ; thy guide is Jove. 
No puny pow'r, but he whose high command 810 
Is unconfin'd, who rules the seas and land, 
And tempers thunder in his awful hand. 
O, fly not: for she fled from his embrace 
O'er Lerna's pastures : he pursu'd the chase 
Along the shades of the L\rca?an plain ; 815 

At length the god, who never asks in vain, 
Involv'd with vapours, imitating night, 
Both air, and earth ; and then suppress'd her flight, 
And mingling force with love, enjoy'd the full delight. 

Meantime the jealous Juno, from on high, 820 

Survey'd the fruitful fields of Arcady : 
And wonder'd that the mist should overrun 
The face of daylight, and obscure the sun. 
No nat'ral cause she found, from brooks, or bogs, 

BOOK I. ■ 23 

Or marshy lowlands, to produce the fogs : 825 

Then round the skies she sought for Jupit er, 
Her faithless husband ; but no Jove was t here. 
Suspecting now the worst, — Or I (she sa id), 
Am much mistaken, or am much betray' d. 

With fury she precipitates her flight ; 830 

Dispels the shadows of dissembled night ; 
And to the day restores his native light. 
TV almighty lecher, careful to prevent 
The consequence, foreseeing her descent, 
Transforms his mistress in a trice ; and now 835 

In Ib's place appears a lovely cow. 
So sleek her skin, so faultless was her make, 
Ev'n Juno did unwilling pleasure take 
To see so fair a rival of her love : 
And what she was, and whence, inquir'd of Jove ; 
Of what fair herd, and from what pedigree ? 841 

The god, half caught, was forc'd upon a lie ; 
And said she sprang from earth. She took the word, 
And begg'd the beauteous heifer of her lord. 
What should he do 1 'twas equal shame to Jove 845 
Or to relinquish, or betray his love : 
Yet to refuse so slight a gift would be 
But more t'increase his consort's jealousy: 
Thus fear, and love, by turns his heart assail'd : 
And stronger love had, sure, at length prevail'd : 
But some faint hope remain'd, his jealous queen 851 
Had not the mistress through the heifer seen. 
The cautious goddess, of ber gift possest, 
Yet harbour'd anxious thoughts within her breast ; 
As she who knew the falsehood of her Jove ; 855 

And justly fear'd some new relapse of love. 
Which to prevent, and to secure her care, 
To trusty Argus she commits the fair. 

The head of Argus (as with stars the skies) 
Was compass'd round, and wore a hundred eyes. 
But two by turns their lids in slumber steep ; 861 

The rest on duty still their station keep ; 
Nor could the total constellation sleep. 
Thus, ever present, to his eyes, and mind, 
His charge was still before him, though behind. 865 
In fields he suffer'd her to feed by day ; 


But when the setting sun to night gave way, 

The captive cow he summon'd with a call, 

And drove her back, and ty'd her to the stall. 

On leaves of trees, and bitter herbs she fed, 870 

Heav'n was her canopy, bare earth her bed : 

So hardly lodg'd, and to digest her food, 

She drank from troubled streams, defil'd with mud. 

Her woful story fain she would have told, 

With hands upheld, but had no hands to hold. 875 

Her head to her ungentle keeper bow'd, 

She strove to speak, she spoke not, but she low'd : 

Affrighted with the noise, she look'd around, 

And seem'd t' inquire the author of the sound. 

Once on the banks where often she had play'd 880 
(Her father's banks), she came, and there survey'd 
Her alter'd visage, and her branching head ; 
And starting, from herself she would have fled. 
Her fellow nymphs, familiar to her eyes, 
Beheld, but knew her not in this disguise. 885 

Ev'n Inachus himself was ignorant ; 
And in his daughter did his daughter want. 
She followed where her fellows went, as she 
Were still a partner of the company : 
They stroke her neck, the gentle heifer stands, 890 
And her neck offers to their stroking hands. 
Her father gave her grass ; the grass she took ; 
And lick'd his palms, and cast a piteous look ; 
And in the language of her eyes, she spoke. 
She would have told her name, and ask'd relief, 895 
But wanting words, in tears she tells her grief, 
Which, with her foot she makes him understand ; 
And prints the name of lb in the sand. 

Ah wretched me ! her mournful father cry'd ; 
She, with a sigh, to • wretched me' reply'd ; 900 

About her milk-white neck his arms he threw ; 
And wept, and then these tender words ensue : 
Arid art thou she, whom I have sought around 
The world, and have at length so sadly found 1 
So found, is worse than lost: with mutual words 
Thou answer'st not, no voice thy tongue affords: 906 
But sighs are deeply drawn from out thy breast } 
And speech deny'd, by lowing is exprest. 

BOOK I. 2 5 

Unknowing I prepar'd thy bridal bed, 

With empty hopes of happy issue fed. 910 

But now the husband of a herd must be 

Thy mate, and bellowing sons thy progeny. 

O ! were I mortal, death might bring relief: 

But now my godhead but extends my grief; 

Prolongs my woes, of which no end I see; 915 

And makes me curse my immortality ! 

More had he said, but fearful of her stay, 
The starry guardian drove his charge away, 
To some fresh pasture; on a hilly height 
He sate himself, and kept her still in sight. 920 

Now Jove no longer could her sufferings bear; 
But call'd in haste his airy messenger, 
The son of Maia, with severe decree, 
To kill the keeper, and to set her free. 
With all his harness soon the god was sped, 925 

His flying hat was fasten'd on his head, 
Wings on his heels were hung, and in his hand 
He holds the virtue of the snaky wand. 
The liquid air his moving pinions wound, 
And, in the moment, shoot him on the ground. 930 
Before he came in sight, the crafty god 
His wings dismiss'd, but still retain'd his rod : 
That sleep-procuring wand wise Hermes took, 
But made it seem to sight a shepherd's hook. 
With this he did a herd of goats control ; 935 

Which by the way he met, and slily stole. 
Clad like a country swain, he pip'd, and sung; 
And playing drove his jolly troop along. 

With pleasure, Argus the musician heeds ; 
But wonders much at those new vocal reeds. 
And whosoe'er thou art, my friend (said he), 940 

Up hither drive thy goats, and play by me : 
This hill has browze for them, and shade for thee. 

That god, who was with ease induc'd to climb, 
Began discourse to pass away the time ; 
And still betwixt his tuneful pipe he plies, 945 

And watch'd his hour to close the keeper's eyes. 
With much ado, he partly kept awake ; 
Not suffering all his eyes repose to take ; 


And ask'd the stranger, who did reeds invent, 

And whence began so rare an instrument ? 950 

Then Hermes thus : A nymph of late there was, 
Whose heav'nly form her fellows did surpass. 
The pride and joy of fair Arcadia's plains, 
Belov'd by deities, ador'd by swains : 
Syrinx her name, by sylvans oft pursu'd, 955 

As oft she did the lustful gods delude: 
The rural, and the woodland pow'rs disdain'd ; 
With Cynthia hunted, and her rites maintain'd : 
Like Phoebe clad, e'en Phoebe's self she seems, 
So tall, so straight, such well-proportion'd limbs. 900 
The nicest eye did no distinction know, 
But that the goddess bore a golden bow. 
Distinguish'd thus, the sight she cheated too. 
Descending from Lycams, Pan admires 
The matchless nymph, and burns with new desires. 
A crown of pine upon his head he wore ; 966 

And thus began her pity to implore. 
But ere he thus began, she took her flight 
So swift, she was already out of sight, 
Nor staid to hear the courtship of the god ; 970 

But bent her course to Ladon's gentle flood : 
There by the river stopp'd; and tir'd before, 
Relief from water-nymphs her pray'rs implore. 
Now while the lustful god with speedy pace, 
Just thought to strain her in a strict embrace, 975 
He fill'd his arms with reeds, new-rising on the place. 
And while he sighs, his ill success to find, 
The tender canes were shaken by the wind ; 
And breath'd a mournful air, unheard before ; 
That much surprising Pan, yet pleas'd him more. 
Admiring this new music, Thou (he said), 981 

Who canst not be the partner of my bed, 
At least shall be the consort of my mind : 
And often, often to my lips be join'd. 
He form'd the reeds, proportion'd as they are, 985 
Unequal in their length, and wax'd with care, 
They still retain the name of his ungrateful fair. 

While Hermes pip'd, and sang, and told his tale, 
The keeper's winking eyes began to fail, 

BOOK I. 27 

And drowsy slumber on the lids to creep ; 990 

Till all the watchmen were at length asleep. 

Then soon the god his voice and song suppress'd ; 

And, with his pow'rful rod, confirm'd his rest : 

Without delay his crooked falchion drew, 

And at one fatal stroke the keeper slew. 995 

Down from the rock fell the dissever'd head, 

Opening its eyes in death ; and falling, bled ; 

And mark'd the passage with a crimson trail : 

Thus Argus lies in pieces, cold, and pale ; 

And all his hundred eyes, with all their light, 1000 

Are clos'd at once, in one perpetual night. 

These Juno takes, that they no more may fail, 

And spreads them in her peacock's gaudy tail. 

Impatient to revenge her injur' d bed, 
She wreaks her anger on her rival's head ; 1005 

With furies frights her from her native home, 
And drives her gadding round the world to roam. 
Nor ceas'd her madness, and her flight, before 
She touch 'd the limits of the Pharian shore. 
At length, arriving on the banks of Nile, 1010 

Wearied with length of ways, and worn with toil, 
She laid her down; and, leaning on her knees, 
Invok'd the cause of all her miseries ; 
And cast her languishing regards above, 
For help from heav'n, and her ungrateful Jove. 1015 
She sigh'd, she wept, she lo*v'd, 'twas all she could; 
And with unkindness seem'd to tax the god. 
Last, with an humble pray'r, she begg'd repose, 
Or death at least, to finish all her woes. 
Jove heard her vows, and, with a flatt'ring look, 1020 
In her behalf, to jealous Juno spoke. 
He cast his arms about her neck, and said, 
Dame, rest secure; no more thy nuptial bed 
This nymph shall violate ; by Styx I swear, 
And every oath that binds the Thunderer. 1025 

The goddess was appeas'd ; and at the word 
Was 16 to her former shape restor'd. 
The rugged hair began to fall away; 
The sweetness of her eyes did only stay, 
Though not so large : her crooked horns decrease ; 
The wideness of her jaws and nostrils cf ase : 1031 


Her hoofs to bands return, in little space : 

The five long taper fingers take their place; 

And nothing of the heifer now is seen, 

Beside the native whiteness of the skin. 1035 

Erected on her feet she walks again ; 

And two, the duty of the four sustain. 

She tries her tongue ; her silence softly breaks, 

And fears her former lowings when she speaks: 

A goddess now, through all th' ^Egyptian state ; 1040 

And serv'd by priests, who in white linen wait. 

Her son was Epaphus, at length believ'd 
The son of Jove, and as a godreceiv'd, 
With sacrifice ador'd, and public pray'rs, 
He common temples with his mother shares. 1045 
Equal in years, and rival in renown 
With Epaphus, the youthful Phaeton 
Like honour claims; and boasts his sire the Sun. 
His haughty looks, and his assuming air, 
The son of Isis could no longer bear : 1050 

Thou tak'st thy mother's word too far, said he, 
And hast usurp'd thy boasted pedigree. 
Go, base pretender to a borrow'd name. 
Thus tax'd, he blush'd with anger and with shame ; 
But shame repress'd his rage : the daunted youth 
Soon seeks his mother, and inquires the truth. 105C 
Mother (said he), this infamy was thrown 
By Epaphus on you, and me, your son. 
He spoke in public, told it to my face; 
Nor durst I vindicate the dire disgrace: 1060 

E'en I, the bold, the sensible of wrong, 
Restrain'd by shame, was forc'd to hold my tongue. 
To hear an open slander is a curse ; 
But not to find an answer is a worse. 
If I am heav'n-begot, assert your son IOCS 

By some sure sign ; and make my father known, 
To right my honour, and redeem your own. 
He said, and saying, cast his arms about 
Her neck, and begg'd her to resolve the doubt. 

'Tis hard to judge if Clymene were mov'd 1070 

More by his pray'r, whom she so dearly lov'd, 
Or more with fury fir'd, to find her name 
Traduc'd, and made the sport of common fame. 

BOOK II. 29 

She stretch'd her arms to heav'n, and fix'd her eyes 

On that fair planet, that adorns the skies ; — 1075 

Now by those beams (said she), whose holy fires 

Consume my breast, and kindle my desires; 

By him, who sees us both, and cheers our sight ; 

By him, the public miniver of light, 

I swear that Sun begot thee ; if I lie, 1080 

Let him his cheerful influence deny : 

Let him no more this perjur'd creature see; 

And shine on all the world, but only me. 

If still you doubt your mother's innocence, 

His eastern mansion is not far from hence ; 1085 

With little pains you to his Leve go, 

And from himself your parentage may know. 

With joy th' ambitious youth his mother heard, 

And eager, for the journey soon prepar'd. 

He longs the world beneath him to survey ; 109O 

To guide the chariot ; and to give the day. 

From Merbe's burning sansls he bends his course, 

Nor less in India feels his father's force ; 

His travel urging, till he came in sight, 

And saw the palace by the purple light. 1095 



Tlie story of Phaeton. Phaeton's sisters transformed into trees. 
The transformation of Cycnus into a swan. The story of Calisto. 
The story of Coronis, and birth of ./Esculapius. Ocyrrhoe 
transformed into a mare. The transformation of Battus into a 
touchstone. The story of Aglauros, transformed into a statue. 
The rape of Europa. 

The Sun's bright palace, on high columns rais'd, 

With burnish'd gold and flaming jewels blaz'd ; 

The folding gates diffus'd a silver light, 

And with a milder gleam refresh'd the sight : 

Of polish'd iv'ry was the cov'ring wrought: 5 

The matter vied not with the sculptor's thought, 

For in the portal was display'd on high 

(The work of Vulcan; a fictitious sky ; 

A waving sea th' inferior earth embrae'd, 

And gods and goddesses the waters grae'd. 10 


JEgeon here a mighty whale bestrode ; 

Triton, and Proteus (the deceiving god), 

With Doris, here were carv'd, and all her train, 

Some loosely swimming in the figur'd main, 

While some on rocks their drooping hair divide, 15 

And some on fishes through the waters glide : 

Though various features did the sisters grace, 

A sister's likeness was in ev'ry face. 

On earth a different landscape courts the eyes, 

Men, towns, and beasts, in distant prospects rise, 20 

And nymphs, and streams,and woods, and rural deities. 

O'er all, the heav'n's refulgent image shines : 

On either gate were six engraven signs. 

Here Phaeton, still gaining on th' ascent, 
To his suspected father's palace went, 25 

Till pressing forward through the bright abode, 
He saw at distance the illustrious god ; 
He saw at distance, or the dazzling light 
Had flash'd too strongly oh his aching sight. 

The god sits high, exalted on a throne 30 

Of blazing gems, with purple garments on ; 
The Hours, in order rang'd on either hand, 
And Days, and Months, and Years, and Ages stand. 
Here Spring appears, with flow'ry chaplets bound ; 
Here Summer, in her wheaten garland crown'd ; 35 
Here Autumn the rich trodden grapes besmear ; 
And hoary Winter shivers in the rear. 

Phoebus beheld the youth from off his throne ; 
That eye, which looks on all, was fix'd on one. 
He saw the boy's confusion in bis face, 40 

Surpris'd at all the wonders of the place ; 
And cries aloud, What wants my son? for know, 
My son thou art, and I must call thee so. 

Light of the world, the trembling youth replies, 
Illustrious parent ! since you don't despise 45 

The parent's name, some certain token give, 
That I may Clymen^'s proud boast believe, 
Nor longer under false reproaehes grieve. 

The tender sire was touched with what he said, 
And flung the blaze of glories from his head, 50 

And bade the youth advance ;— My son (said he), 
Come to thy father's arms ! for Clymene 

BOOK II. 31 

Has told thee true ; a parent's name I own, 

And deem thee worthy to be call'd my son. 

As a sure proof, make some request, and I, 55 

Whate'er it be, with that request comply ; 

By Styx I swear, whose waves are hid in night, 

And roll impervious to my piercing sight. 

The youth, transported, asks, without delay, 
To guide the Sun's bright chariot for a day. 60 

The god repented of the oath he took, 
For anguish thrice his radiant head he shook; — 
My son (says he), some other proof require, 
Rash was my promise, rash is thy desire : 
I'd fain deny this wish, which thou hast made, 65 
Or, what I can't deny, would fain dissuade. 
Too vast and hazardous the task appears, 
Nor suited to thy strength, nor to thy years. 
Thy lot is mortal, but thy wishes fly 
Beyond the province of mortality : 70 

There is not one of all the gods that dares 
(However skill'd in other great affairs) 
To mount the burning axle-tree, but I ; 
Not Jove himself, the ruler of the sky, 
That hurls the three-fork'd thunder from above, 75 
Dares try his strength ; yet who as strong as Jove? 
The steeds climb up the first ascent with pain, 
And, when the middle firmament they gain, 
If downward from the heav'ns my head I bow, 
And see the earth and ocean hang below, 80 

Ev'n I am seiz'd with horror and affright, 
And my own heart misgives me at the sight. 
A mighty downfal steeps the ev'ning stage, 
And steady reins must curb the horses' rage. 
Tethys herself has fear'd to see me driv'n 85 

Down headlong from the precipice of heav'n. 
Besides, consider what impetuous force 
Turns stars and planets in a different course. 
1 steer against their motions ; nor am I 
Bome back by all the current of the sky : 90 

But how could you resist the orbs that roll 
In adverse whirls, and stem the rapid pole? 
But you perhaps may hope for pleasing woods, 
And stately domes, and cities fill'd with gods; 


While through a thousand snares your progress lies, 95 

Where forms of starry monsters stock the skies : 

For, should you hit the doubtful way aright, 

The Bull with stooping horns stands opposite ; 

Next him the bright Hasmonian bow is strung, 

And next, the Lion's grinning visage hung ; 100 

The Scorpion's claws here clasp a wide extent, 

And here the Crab's in lesser clasps are bent. 

Nor would you find it easy to compose 

The mettled steeds, when from their nostrils flows 

The scorching fire that in their entrails glows. 105 

Ev'n I their headstrong fury scarce restrain, 

When they grow warm and restive to the rein. 

Let not my son a fatal gift require, 

But, O ! in time, recal your rash desire ; 

You ask a gift that may. your parent tell, 110 

Let these my fears your parentage reveal; 

And learn a father from a father's care : 

Look on my face ; or if my heart lay bare, 

Could you but look, you'd read the father there. 

Choose out a gift from seas, or earth, or skies, 115 

For, open to your wish all nature lies, 

Only decline this one unequal task, 

For 'tis a mischief, not a gift you ask. 

You ask a real mischief, Phaeton : 

Nay hang not thus about my neck, my son : 120 

I grant your wish, and Styx has heard my voice, 

Choose what you will, but make a wiser choice. 

Thus did the god th' unwary youth advise ; 
But he still longs to travel through the skies ; 
When the fond father (for in vain he pleads) 125 

At length to the Vulcanian chariot leads. 
A golden axle did the work uphold, 
Gold was the beam, the wheels were orb'd with gold. 
The spokes in rows of silver pleas'd the sight, 
The seat with parti-colour'd gems was bright; 130 

Apollo shone amid the glare of light. 
The youth with secret joy the work surveys, 
When now the Morn disclos'd her purple rays; 
The stars were fled, for Lucifer had chas'd 
The stars away, and fled himself at last. 155 

Soon as the father saw the rosy morn, 

BOOK II. 33 

And the moon shining with a blunter horn, 

He bade the nimble Hours, without delay, 

Bring forth the steeds; the nimble Hours obey: 

From their full racks, the gen'rous steeds retire, 140 

Dropping ambrosial foams, and snorting fire. 

Still anxious for his son, the God of Day, 

To make him proof against the burning ray, 

His temples with celestial ointment wet, 

Of sov'reign virtue to repel the heat: 145 

Then fix'd the beamy circle on his head, 

And fetch'd a deep, foreboding sigh, and said : 

Take this at least, this last advice, my son ; 
Keep a stiff rein, and move but gently on : 
The coursers of themselves will run too fast, 15® 

Your art must be to moderate their haste. 
Drive 'em not on directly through the skies, 
But where the zodiac's winding circle lies, 
Along the midmost zone : but sally forth 
Nor to the distant South, nor stormy North. 155 

The horses' hoofs a beaten track will shew, 
But neither mount too high, nor sink too low. 
That no new fires, or heav'n or earth infest ; 
Keep the midway, the middle way is best. 
Nor, where in radiant folds the serpent twines, 160 
Direct your course, nor where the altar shines. 
Shun both extremes; the rest let fortune guide, 
And better for thee than thyself provide ! 
See, while I speak, the shades disperse away, 
Aurora gives the promise of a day ; 165 

I'm call'd, nor can I make a longer stay. 
Snatch up the reins ; or still th' attempt forsake, 
And not my chariot, but my counsel take, 
While yet securely on the earth you stand; 
Nor touch the horses with too rash a hand : 170 

Let me alone to light the world, while you 
Enjoy those beams which you may safely view. 

He spoke in vain; the youth with active heat 
And sprightly vigour vaults into the seat ; 
And joys to hold the reins, and fondly gives 175 

Those thanks his father with remorse receives. 

Meanwhile the restless horses neigh'd aloud, 
Breathing out fire, and pawing where they stood. 
C 2 


Tethys, not knowing what had pass'd, gave way, 

And all the waste of heav'n before 'em lay. 180 

They spring together out, and swiftly bear 

The flying youth through clouds and yielding air ; 

With wingy speed outstrip the eastern wind, 

And leave the breezes of the morn behind. 

The youth was light, nor could he fill the seat, 185 

Or poise the chariot with its wonted weight : 

But as at sea th' unballass'd vessel rides, 

Cast to and fro, the sport of winds and tides ; 

So in the bounding chariot toss'd on high, 

The youth is hurried headlong through the sky. 190 

Soon as the steeds perceive it, they forsake 

Their stated course, and leave the beaten track. 

The youth was in a maze, nor did he know 

Which way to turn the reins, or where to go ; 

Nor would the horses, had he known, obey. 195 

Then the sev'n stars first felt Apollo's ray, 

And wish'd to dip in the forbidden sea. 

The folded serpent next the frozen pole, 

Stiff" and benumb'd before, began to roll, 

And rag'd with inward heat, and threaten'd war, 200 

And shot a redder light from ev'ry star ; 

Nay, and 'tis said, Bootes, too, that fain [wane. 

Thou would'st have fled, though cumber'd with thy 

Th' unhappy youth then, bending down his head, 
Saw earth and ocean far beneath him spread. 205 
His colour chang'd, he started at the sight, 
And his eyes darken'd by too great a light. 
Now could he wish the fiery steeds untry'd, 
His birth obscure, and his request deny'd : 
Now would he Merops for his father own, 210 

And quit his boasted kindred to the Sun. 

So fares the pilot, when his ship is tost 
In troubled seas, and all its steerage lost, 
He gives her to the winds, and in despair 
Seeks his last refuge in the gods and pray'r. 215 

What could be do 1 his eyes, if backward cast, 
Find a long path he had already pass'd ; 
If forward, still a longer path they find : 
Both he compares, and measures in his mind ; 
And sometimes casts an eye upon the East, 220 

BOOK II. 35 

And sometimes looks on the forbidden West. 

The horses' names he knew not in the fright ; 

Nor would he loose the reins, nor could he hold'em right. 

Now all the horrors of the heav'ns he spies, 
And monstrous shadows of prodigious size, 225 

That, deck'd with stars, lie scatter'd o'er the skies. 
There is a place above, where Scorpio bent, 
In tail and arms surrounds a vast extent ; 
In a wide circuit of the heav'ns he shines, 
And fills the place of two celestial signs. 230 

Soon as the youth beheld him, vext with heat, 
Brandish his sting, and in his poison sweat, 
Half dead, with sudden fear, he dropp'd the reins; 
The horses felt 'em loose upon their manes, 
And, flying out through all the plains above, 235 

Ran uncontroll'd where'er their fury drove ; 
Rush'd on the stars, and through a pathless way, 
Of unknown regions, hurry'd on the day. 
And now above, and now below they flew, 
And near the earth the burning chariot drew. 240 

The clouds disperse in fumes, the wond'ring Moon 
Beholds her brother's steeds beneath her own ; 
The highlands smoke, cleft by the piercing rays, 
Or, clad with woods, in their own fuel blaze. 
Next o'er the plains, where ripen'd harvests grow, 
The running conflagration spreads below : 246 

But these are trivial ills; whole cities burn, 
And peopled kingdoms into ashes turn. 

The mountains kindle as the car draws near, 
Athos and Tmolus red with fires appear ; 250 

GSagrian Haemus (then a single name) 
And virgin Helicon increase the flame ; 
Taurus and GSte glare amid the sky, 
And Ida, spite of all her fountains, dry. 
Eryx, and Othrys, and Cithseron, glow, 255 

And Rhodope, no longer cloth'd in snow; 
High l'indus, Mimas, and Parnassus sweat, 
And ./Etna rages with redoubled heat. 
Ev'n Scythia, through her hoary regions warm'd, 
In vain with all her native frost was arm'd. 260 

Cover'd with flames, the tow'ring Apennine, 
And Caucasus, and proud Olympus shine; 


And, where the long-extended Alps aspire, 
Now stands a huge continu'd range of fire. 

Th' astonish 'd youth, where'er his eyes could turn, 
Beheld the universe around him burn : 266 

The world was in a blaze ; nor could he bear 
The sultry vapours, and the scorching air, 
Which from below, as from a furnace, flow'd ; 
And now the axle-tree beneath him glow'd : 270 

Lost in the whirling clouds, that round him broke, 
And white with ashes, hov'ring in the smoke, 
He flew where'er the horses drove, nor knew 
Whither the horses drove, or where he flew. 

'Twas then, they say, the swarthy moor begun 275 
To change his hue, and blacken in the sun. 
Then Libya first, of all her moisture drain'd, 
Became a barren waste, a wild of sand. 
The water-nymphs lament their empty urns, 
Boeotia, robb'd of silver Dirce mourns, 280 

Corinth Pyrene's wasted spring bewails, 
And Argos grieves whilst Amymone fails. 

The floods are drain'd from ev'ry distant coast, 
Ev'n Tana'is, though fix'd in ice, was lost. 
Enrag'd Caicus and Lycormas roar, 285 

And Xanthus, fated to be burnt once more. 
The fam'd Meander, that unwearied strays 
Through mazy windings, smokes in ev'ry maze. 
From his lov'd Babylon Euphrates flies: 
The big-swoln Ganges and the Danube rise 290 

In thick'ning fumes, and darken half the skies. 
In flames Ismenos and the Phasis roll'd, 
And Tagus floating in his melted gold. 
The swans, that on Cayster often try'd 
Their tuneful songs, now sung their last, and dy'd. 
The frighted Nile ran off, and under ground 296 

Conceal'd his head, nor can it yet be found : 
His sev'n divided currents all are dry, 
And where they roll'd, sev'n gaping trenches he : 
No more the Rhine or Rhone their course maintain , 
Nor Tiber, of his promis'd empire vain. 301 

The ground, deep-cleft, admits the dazzling ray, 
And startles Pluto with the flash of day. 
The seas shrink in, and to the sight disclose 

BOOK II. 37 

Wide naked plains, where once their billows rose ; 
Their rocks are all discover'd, and increase 306 

The number of the scatter'd Cyclades. 
The fish in shoals about the bottom creep, 
Nor longer dares the crooked dolphin leap : 
Gasping for breath, th' unshapen Phocse die, 310 

And on the boiling wave extended lie. 
Nereus, and Doris, with her virgin train, 
Seek out the last recesses of the main ; 
Beneath unfathomable depths they faint, 
And secret in their gloomy caverns pant. 315 

Stern Neptune thrice above the waves upheld 
His face, and thrice was by the flames repell'd. 
The Earth at length, on ev'ry side embrac'd 
With scalding seas that floated round her waist, 
When now she felt the springs and rivers come, 320 
And crowd within the hollow of her womb, 
Uplifted to the heav'ns her blasted head, 
And clapt her hand upon her brows, and said 
( But first impatient of the sultry heat, 
Sunk deeper down, and sought a cooler seat) : 325 
If you, great king of gods, my death approve, 
And I deserve it, let me die by Jove ; 
If I must perish by the force of fire, 
Let me transfix' d with thunderbolts expire. 
See whilst I speak, my breath the vapours choke 330 
(For now her face lay wrapt in clouds of smoke), 
See my sing'd hair, behold my faded eye, 
And wither'd face, where heaps of cinders lie ! 
And does the plough for this my body tear? 
This the reward for all the fruits I bear, 335 

Tortur'd with rakes, and harass'd all the year? 
That herbs for cattle daily I renew, 
And food for man, and frankincense for you? 
But grant me guilty ; what has Neptune done? 
Why are his waters boiling in the sun ? 340 

The wavy empire, which by lot was giv'n, 
Why does it waste, and farther shrink from heav'n? 
If I nor he your pity can provoke, 
See your own heav'ns, the heav'ns begin to smoke! 
Should once the sparkles catch those bright abodes, 
Destruction seizes on the heavens and gods ; 346 


Atlas becomes unequal to his freight, 

And almost faints beneath the glowing weight. 

If heav'n, and earth, and sea, together burn, 

All must again into their chaos turn. 350 

Apply some speedy cure, prevent our fate, 

And succour nature, ere it be too late. 

She ceas'd ; for, choked with vapours round her 
Down to the deepest shades she sunk her head. 

Jove call'd to witness ev'ry pow'r above, 355 

And ev'n the god, whose son the chariot drove, 
That what he acts he is compell'd to do, 
Or universal ruin must ensue. 
Straight he ascends the high ethereal throne, 
From whence he us'd to dart his thunder down, 360 
From whence his show'rs and storms he used to pour; 
But now could meet with neither storm nor show'r. 
Then, aiming at the youth, with lifted hand, 
Full at his head he hurl'd the forky brand, 
In dreadful thund'rings. Thus th' almighty sire 365 
Suppress'd the raging of the fires with fire. 

At once from life and from the chariot driv'n, 
Th' ambitious boy fell thunder-struck from heaven. 
The horses started with a sudden bound, 
And flung the reins and chariot to the ground : 370 
The studded harness from their necks they broke ; 
Here fell a wheel, and here a silver spoke ; 
Here were the beam and axle torn away; 
And scatter'd o'er the earth, the shining fragments lay. 
The breathless Phaeton, with flaming hair 375 

Shot from the chariot like a falling star, 
That in a summer's ev'ning from the top 
Of heav'n drops down, or seems at least to drop ; 
Till on the Po hi3 blasted corse was hurl'd, 
Far from his country, in the western world. 380 

The Latian nymphs came round him, and amaz'd, 
On the dead youth, transfix'd with thunder, gaz'd ; 
And, whilst yet smoking from the bolt he lay, 
His shatter'd body to a tomb convey, 
And o'er the tomb an epitaph devise : 385 

1 Here he who drove the Sun's bright chariot lies; 

BOOK II. 39 

His father's fiery steeds he could not guide, 
But in the glorious enterprize he died.' 

Apollo hid his face, and pin'd for grief, 
And, if the story may deserve belief, 390 

The space of one whole day is said to run, 
From morn to wonted ev'n, without a sun : 
The burning ruins, with a fainter ray, 
Supply the sun, and counterfeit a day, — 
A day, that still did nature's face disclose : 395 

This comfort from the mighty mischief rose. 

But Clymene, enrag'd with grief, laments, 
And as her grief inspires, her passion vents : 
Wild for her son, and frantic in her woes, 
With hair dishevell'd round the world she goes, 400 
To seek where'er his body might be cast; 
Till on the borders of the Po, at last, 
The name inscrib'd on the new tomb appears. 
The dear, dear name, she bathes in flowing tears, 
Hangs o'er the tomb, unable to depart, 405 

And hugs the marble to her throbbing heart. 

Her daughters too lament, and sigh, and mourn 
(A fruitless tribute to their brother's urn), 
And beat their naked bosoms, and complain, 
And call aloud for Phaeton, in vain : 410 

All the long night their mournful watch they keep, 
And all the day stand round the tomb and weep. 

Four times, revolving, the full moon return'd; 
So long the mother and the daughters mourn'd : 
When now the eldest, Phaethusa, strove 415 

To rest her weary limbs, but could not move ; 
Lampetia would have helped her, but she found 
Herself withheld, and rooted on the ground : 
A third in wild affliction, as she grieves, 
Would rend her hair, but fills her hand with leaves ; 
One sees her thighs transform'd, another views 421 
Her arms shot out, and brandling into boughs. 
And now their legs and breasts, and bodies stood 
Crusted with bark, and hard'ning into wood ; 
But still above were female heads display'd, 425 

And mouths that call'd the mother to their aid. 
What could, alas! the weeping mother do? 
From this to that with eager haste she flew, 


And kiss'd her sprouting daughters as they grew. 
She tears the bark that to each body cleaves, 430 

And from their verdant fingers strips the leaves: 
The blood came trickling, where she tore away 
The leaves and bark: The maids were heard to say, 
Forbear, mistaken parent, O ! forbear; 
A wounded daughter in each tree you tear; 435 

Farewell! for ever. Here the bark increas'd, 
Clos'd on their faces, and their words suppress'd. 

The new-made trees in tears of amber run ; 
Which, harden'd into value by the sun, 
Distil for ever on the streams below : 440 

The limpid streams their radiant treasure shew, 
Mixt in the sand ; whence the rich drops convey'd, 
Shine in the dress of the bright Latian maid. 

Cycnus beheld the nymphs transform'd, ally'd 
To their dead brother on the mortal side, 415 

In friendship and affection nearer bound; 
He left the cities, and the realms he own'd, 
Through pathless fields, and lonely shores to range, 
And woods, made thicker by the sisters' change. 
Whilst here, within the dismal gloom alone, 450 

The melancholy monarch made his moan ; 
His voice was lessen'd, as he try'd to speak, 
And issu'd through a long extended neck : 
His hair transforms to down, his fingers meet, 
In skinny films, and shape his oary feet ; 455 

From both his sides the wings and feathers break : 
And from his mouth proceeds a blunted beak: 
All Cycnus now into a swan was turn'd, 
Who, still rememb'ring how his kinsman burn'd, 
To solitary pools and lakes retires, 4C<» 

And loves the waters as oppos'd to fires. 

Meanwhile Apollo in a gloomy shade 
(The native lustre of his brows decay'd), 
Indulging sorrow, sickens at the sight 
Of his own sunshine, and abhors the light : 4C5 

The hidden griefs, that in his bosom rise, 
Sadden his looks, and overcast his eyes, 
As when some dusky orb obstructs his ray, 
And sullies in a dim eclipse the day. 

BOOK II. 41 

Now secretly with inward griefs he pin'd, 470 

Now warm resentments to his griefs he join'd, 
And now renounc'd his office to mankind. 
E'er since the birth of time (said he), I've borne 
A long ungrateful toil without return ; 
Let now some other manage, if he dare, 475 

The fiery steeds, and mount the burning car; 
Or, if none else, let Jove his fortune try, 
And learn to lay his murd'ring thunder by; 
Then will he own, perhaps but own too late, 
My son deserv'd not so severe a fate. 480 

The gods stand round him, as he mourns, and pray 
He would resume the conduct of the day, 
Nor let the world be lost in endless night : 
Jove too himself, descending from his height, 
Excuses what had happen'd, and intreats, 485 

Majestically mixing pray'rs and threats. 
Prevail'd upon, at length, again he took 
The harness'd steeds, that still with horror shook. 
And plies 'em with the lash, and whips 'em on, 
And, as he whips, upbraids 'em with his son. 490 

The day was settled in its course ; and Jove 
Walk'd the wide circuit of the heav'ns above, 
To search if any cracks or flaws were made; 
But all was safe : the earth he then survey'd, 
And cast an eye on ev'ry different coast, 495 

And ev'ry land ; but on Arcadia most. 
Her fields he cloth'd, and cheer'd her blasted face, 
With running fountains, and with springing grass. 
No tracts of heav'n's destructive fire remain, 
The fields and woods revive, and nature smiles again. 

But as the god walk'd to and fro the earth, 501 

And rais'd the plants, and gave the spring its birth, 
By chance a fair Arcadian nymph he view'd, 
And felt the lovely charmer in his blood. 
The nymph nor spun, nor dress'd with artful pride, 
Her vest was gather'd up, her hair was ty'd; 506 

Now in her hand a slender spear she bore, 
Now a light quiver on her shoulders wore ; 
To chaste Diana from her youth inclin'd, 
The sprightly warriors of Hie wood she join'd. 510 


Diana too the gentle huntress lov'd, 

Nor was there one of all the nymphs that rov'd 

O'er Mtenalus, amid the maiden throng, 

More favour'd once; — but favour lasts not long. 

The sun now shone in all its strength, and drove 
The heated virgin, panting to a grove ; 516 

The grove around a grateful shadow cast : 
She dropp'd her arrows, and her bow unbrac'd; 
She flung herself on the cool grassy bed ; 
And on the painted quiver rais'd her head. 520 

Jove saw the charming huntress unprepar'd, 
Stretch'd on the verdant turf without a guard. — 
Here I am safe (he cries) from Juno's eye ; 
Or, should my jealous queen the theft descry, 
Yet would I venture on a theft like this, 525 

And stand her rage for such, for such a bliss ! — 
Diana's shape and habit straight he took, 
Soften'd his brows, and smooth'd his awful look, 
And mildly in a female accent spoke : 
How fares my girl? how went the morning chase? 
To whom the virgin, starting from the grass, 531 

All hail, bright deity, whom I prefer 
To Jove himself, though Jove himself were here. 
The god was nearer than she thought, and heard, 
Well pleas'd, himself before himself preferr'd. 535 

He then salutes her with a warm embrace; 
And, ere she half had told the morning chase, 
With love inflam'd, and eager on his bliss, 
Smother'd her words and stopp'd her with a kiss; 
His kisses with unwonted ardour glow'd, 540 

Nor could Diana's shape conceal the god. 
The virgin did whate'er a virgin could 
(Sure Juno must have pardon'd, had she view'd); 
With all her might against his force she strove ; 
But how can mortal maids contend with Jove ? 545 

Possest at length of what his heart desir'd, 
Back to his heav'ns th' exulting god retir'd. 
The lovely huntress, rising from the grass, 
With downcast eyes, and with a blushing face, 
By shame confounded, and by fear dismay'd, 550 

Flew from the covert of the guilty shads, 
And almost, in the tumult of her mind, 

BOOK II. 43 

Left her forgotten bow and shafts behind. 
But now Diana, with a sprightly train 
Of quiver'd virgins, bounding o'er the plain, 555 

Call'd to the nymph ; the nymph began to fear 
A second fraud, a Jove disguis'd in her; 
But, when she saw the sister nymphs, suppress'd 
Her rising fears, and mingled with the rest. 

How in the look does conscious guilt appear ! 560 
Slowly she niov'd, and loiter'd in the rear; 
Nor lightly tripp'd, nor by the goddess ran, 
As once she used, the foremost of the train. 
Her looks were flush'd, and sullen was her mien, 
That sure the virgin goddess (had she been 505 

Aught but a virgin) must the guilt have seen : 
'Tis said the nymphs saw all, and guess'd aright. 
And now the Moon had nine times lost her light, 
When Dian, fainting in the mid-day beams, 
Found a cool covert, and refreshing streams, 570 

That in soft murmurs through the forest flow'd, 
And a smooth bed of shining gravel shew'd. 
A covert so obscure, and streams so clear, 
The goddess praised: — And now no spies are near, 
Let's strip, my gentle maids, and wash (she cries). 
Pleas'd with the motion, ev'ry maid complies : 576 
Only the blushing huntress stood confus'd, 
And form'd delays, and her delays excus'd ; 
In vain excus'd : her fellows round her press'd, 
And the reluctant nymph by force undress'd. 580 

The naked huntress all her shame reveal'd, 
In vain her hands the pregnant womb conceal'd; 
Begone ! the goddess cries, with stern disdain ; 
Begone ! nor dare the hallow'd stream to stain ; 
She fled, for ever banish'd from the train. 585 

This, Juno heard, who long had watch'd her time 
To punish the detested rival's crime ; 
The time was come : for, to enrage her more, 
A lovely boy the teeming rival bore. 
The goddess cast a furious look, and cry'd, 590 

It is eonugh ! I'm fully satisfied ! 
This boy shall stand a living mark, to prove 
My husband's baseness, and the strumpet's love : 
But vengeance shall awake : those guilty charms 


That drew the Thunderer from Juno's arms, 595 

No longer shall their wonted force retain, 
Nor please the god, nor make the mortal vain. 

This said, her hand within her hair she wound, 
Swung her to earth, and dragg'd her on the ground; 
The prostrate wretch lifts up her arms in pray'r ; 600 
Her arms grow shaggy, and deform'd with hair, 
Her nails are sharpen'd into pointed claws, 
Her hands bear half her weight, and turn to paws ; 
Her lips, that once could tempt a god, begin 
To grow distorted in an ugly grin. 605 

And, lest the supplicating brute might reach 
The ears of Jove, she was depriv'd of speech : 
Her surly voice through a hoarse passage came, 
In savage sounds: her mind was still the same. 
The furry monster fix'd her eyes above, 610 

And heav'd her new, unwieldy paws to Jove, 
And begg'd his aid with inward groans; and though 
She could not call him false, she thought him so. 

How did she fear to lodge in woods alone, 
And haunt the fields and meadows, once her own ! 
How often would the deep-mouth'd dogs pursue, 616 
Whilst from her hounds the frighted huntress flew ! 
How did she fear her fellow-brutes, and shun 
The shaggy bear, though now herself was one! 
How from the sight of rugged wolves retire, 620 

Although the grim Lycaon was her sire! 

But now her son had fifteen summers told, 
Fierce at the chase, and in the forest bold; 
When as he beat the woods in quest of prey, 
He chanc'd to rouse his mother where she lay. 6*25 
She knew her son, and kept him in her sight, 
And fondly gaz'd: the boy was in a fright, 
And aim'd a pointed arrow at her breast, 
And would have slain his mother in the beast; 
But Jove forbad, and snatch'd 'em through the air 
In whirlwinds up to heav'n, and fix'd 'em there; 631 
Where the new constellations nightly rise, 
And add a lustre to the northern skies. 

When Juno saw the rival in her height, 
Spangled with stars, and circled round with light, 
She sought old Ocean in his deep abodes, 636 

BOOK H. 45 

And Tethys, both rever'd among the gods. 

They ask what brings her there 1 Ne'er ask (says she), 

What brings me here ; heav'n is no place for me. 

You'll see, when night has cover'd all things o'er, 640 

Jove's starry bastard, and triumphant whore, 

Usurp the heavens ; you'll see 'em proudly roll 

In their new orbs, and brighten all the pole. 

And who shall now on Juno's altars wait, 

When those she hates grow greater by her hate 1 645 

I on the nymph a brutal form impress'd, 

Jove to a goddess has transform'd the beast ; 

This, this was all my weak revenge could do : 

But let the god his chaste amours pursue, 

And as he acted after Ib's rape, 650 

Restore th' adultress to her former shape ; 

Then may he cast his Juno off, and lead 

The great Lycaon's offspring to his bed. 

But you, ye venerable pow'rs, be kind, 

And, if my wrongs a due resentment find, 655 

Receive not in your waves their setting beams, 

Nor let the glaring strumpet taint your streams. 

The goddess ended, and her wish was giv'n : 
Back she returned in triumph up to heav'n ; 
Her gaudy peacocks drew her through the skies, 660 
Their tails were spotted with a thousand eyes; 
The eyes of Argus on their tails were rang'd, 
At the same time the raven's colour chang'd. 

The raven once in snowy plumes was drest, 
White as the whitest dove's unsully'd breast, 665 

Fair as the guardian of the Capitol, 
Soft as the swan; a large and lovely fowl; 
His tongue, his prating tongue, had chang'd him quite 
To sooty blackness from the purest white. 

The story of his change shall here be told : 670 

In Thessaly there liv'd a nymph of old, 
Coronis nam'd; a peerless maid she shin'd, 
Confest the fairest of the fairer kind. 
Apollo lov'd her, till her guilt he knew, 
While true she was, or whilst he thought her true ; 
But his own bird, the raven, chanc'd to find 676 

The false one with a secret rival join'd. 


Coronis begg'd him to suppress the tale, 

But could not with repeated pray'rs prevail. 

His milk-white pinions to the god he ply'd ; 680 

The busy daw flew with him side by side, 

And by a thousand teasing questions drew 

Th' important secret from him as they flew. 

The daw gave honest counsel, though despis'd, 

And, tedious in her tattle, thus advis'd : 085 

Stay, silly bird, th' ill-natur'd task refuse, 
Nor be the bearer of unwelcome news. 
Be warn'd by my example : you discern 
What now I am, and what I was shall learn. 
My foolish honesty was all my crime ; 690 

Then hear my story. — Once upon a time, 
The two-shap'd Ericthonius had his birth 
(Without a mother) from the teeming Earth ; 
Minerva nurs'd him, and the infant laid 
Within a chest of twining osiers made. 695 

The daughters of king Cecrops undertook 
To guard the chest, commanded not to look 
On what was hid within. I stood to see 
The charge obey'd, perch'd on a neighb'ring tree. 
The sisters Pandrosos and Herse keep 700 

The strict command ; Aglauros needs would peep, 
And saw the monstrous infant in a fright, 
And call'd her sisters to the hideous sigh. - :: 
A boy's soft shape did to the waist prevail, 
But the boy ended in a dragon's tail. 705 

I told the stern Minerva all that pass'd; 
But for my pains, discarded and disgrac'd, 
The frowning goddess drove me from her sight, 
And for a fav'rite chose the bird of night. 
Be then no tell-tale: for I think my wrong 710 

Enough to teach a bird to hold her tongue. 

But you, perhaps, may think I was remov'd, 
As never by the heav'nly maid belov'd : 
But I waslov'd; ask Pallas if I lie; 
Though Pallas hate me now, she won't deny : 715 
For I, whom in a feather'd shape you view, 
Was once a maid, (by heav'n the story's true !) 
A blooming maid, and a king's daughter too. 
A crowd of lovers own'd my beauty's charms ; 

BOOK II. 47 

My beauty was the cause of all my harms : 720 

Neptune, as on his shores I wont to rove, 

Observ'd me in my walks, and fell in love. 

He made his courtship, he confess'd his pain, 

And offer'd force when all his arts were vain : 

Swift he pursu'd; I ran along the strand, 725 

Till, spent and weary'd on the sinking sand, 

I shriek'd aloud, with cries I fill'd the air 

To gods and men : nor god nor man was there : 

A virgin goddess heard a virgin's pray'r. 

For, as my arms I lifted to the skies, 730 

I saw black feathers from my fingers rise : 

I strove to fling my garment on the ground ; 

My garment turn'd to plumes, and girt me round : 

My hands to beat my naked bosom try ; 

Nor naked bosom now nor hands had 1 : 735 

Lightly I tripp'd, nor weary as before 

Sunk in the sand, but skimm'd along the shore ; 

Till, rising on my wings, I was preferr'd 

To be the chaste Minerva's virgin bird : 

Preferr'd in vain ! I now am in disgrace : 740 

Nyctimene, the owl, enjoys my place. 

On her incestuous life I need not dwell 
( In Lesbos still the horrid tale they tell), 
And of her dire amours you must have heard, 
For which she now does penance to a bird, 745 

That, conscious of her shame, avoids the light, 
And loves the gloomy cov'ring of the night; 
The birds, where'er she flutters, scare away 
The hooting wretch, and drive her from the day. 

The raven, urg'd, at such impertinence 750 

Grew passionate, it seems, and took offence, 
And curs'd the harmless daw ; the daw withdrew ; 
The raven to her injur'd patron flew, 
And found him out, and told the fatal truth 
Of false Coronis and the favour'd youth. 755 

The god was wroth ; the colour left his look, 
The wreath his head, the harp his hand forsook : 
His silver bow and feather'd shafts he took, 
And lodg'd an arrow in the tender breast, 
That had so often to his own been prest, 760 

Down fell the wounded nymph, and sadly groan'd, 


And pull'd his arrow, reeking, from the wound; 

And welt'ring in her blood, thus faintly cry'd: 

Ah cruel god! though I have justly dy'd, 

What has, alas! my unborn infant done, 765 

That he should fall, and two expire in one ? 

This said, in agonies she fetch'd her breath ; 
The god dissolves in pity at her death ; 
He hates the bird that made her falsehood known, 
And hates himself for what himself had done ; 770 
The feather'd shaft, that sent her to the fates, 
And own his hand, that sent the shaft, he hates. 
Fain would he heal the wound, and ease her pain, 
And tries the compass of his art in vain. 
Soon as he saw the lovely nymph expire, 775 

The pile made ready, and the kindling fire, 
With sighs and groans her obsequies he kept, 
And, if a god could weep, the god had wept. 
Her corse he kiss'd, and heav'nly incense brought, 
And solemniz'd the death himself had wrought. 780 

But, lest his offspring should her fate partake, 
Spite of th' immortal mixture in his make, 
He ripp'd her womb, and set the child at large, 
And gave him to the Centaur Chiron's charge : 
Then in his fury black'd the raven o'er, 785 

And bid him prate in his white plumes no more. 

Old Chiron took the babe with secret joy, 
Proud of the charge of the celestial boy. 
His daughter too, whom on the sandy shore 
The nymph Charicle to the Centaur bore, 790 

With hair dishevell'd on her shoulders came 
To see the child, Ocyrrhbe was her name ; 
She knew her father's arts, and could rehearse 
The depths of prophecy in sounding verse. 
Once as the sacred infant she survey'd, 795 

The god was kindled in the raving maid, 
And thus she utter'd her prophetic tale: — 
Hail, great physician of the world, all hail! 
Hail, mighty infant, who, in years to come, 
Shall heal the nations, and defraud the tomb ! 800 
Swift be thy growth ! thy triumphs unconfin'd ! 
Make kingdoms thicker, and increase mankind. 

BOOK II. 49 

Thy daring art shall animate the dead, 

And draw the thunder on thy guilty head: 

Then shalt thou die, but from the dark abode 805 

Rise up victorious, and be twice a god. 

And thou, my sire, not destin'd by thy birth 

To turn to dust, and mix with common earth, 

How will thou toss, and rave, and long to die, 

And quit thy claim to immortality ; 810 

When thou shalt feel, enrag'd with inward pains, 

The Hydra's venom rankling in thy veins? 

The gods, in pity, shall contract thy date, 

And give thee over to the power of fate. 

Thus, ent'ring into destiny, the maid 815 

The secrets of offended Jove betray'd: 
More had she still to say ; but now appears 
Opprest with sobs and sighs, and drown'd in tears. — 
My voice, says she, is gone, my language fails; 
Through ev'ry limb my kindred shape prevails ; 820 
Why did the god this fatal gift impart, 
And with prophetic raptures swell my heart ! 
What new desires are these ? I long to pace 
O'er flow'ry meadows, and to feed on grass ; 
I hasten to a brute, a maid no more ; 825 

But why, alas! am I transform'd all o'er? 
My sire does half a human shape retain, 
And in his upper parts preserves the man. 

Her tongue no more distinct complaints affords, 
But in shrill accents, and mis-shapen words, 830 

Pours forth such hideous wailings, as declare 
The human form confounded in the mare : 
Till by degrees accomplish'd in the beast, 
She neigh'd outright, and all the steed express'd. 
Her stooping body on her hands is borne, 835 

Her hands are turn'd to hoofs, and shod in horn; 
Her yellow tresses ruffle in a mane, 
And, in a flowing tail, she frisks her train. 
The mare was nnish'd in her voice and look, 
And a new name from the new figure took. 840 

Sore wept the Centaur, and to Phoebus pray'd : 
But how could Phoebus give the Centaur aid ? 
Degraded of his pow'r by angry Jove, 


In Elis then a herd of beeves he drove ; 

And wielded in his hand a staff of oak, 845 

And o'er his shoulders threw a shepherd's cloak ; 

On sev'n compacted reeds he us'd to play, 

And on his rural pipe to waste the day. 

As once, attentive to his pipe, he play'd, 
The crafty Herrnes from the god convey'd 850 

A drove, that sep'rate from their fellows stray'd ; 
The theft an old, insidious peasant view'd 
(They call him Battus in the neighbourhood), 
Hir'd by a wealthy Pylian prince to feed 
His fav'rite mares, and watch the gen'rous breed. 
The thievish god suspected him, and took 856 

The hind aside, and thus in whispers spoke : — 
Discover not the theft, whoe'er thou be, 
And take that milk-white heifer for the fee. — 
Go, stranger (cries the clown), securely on, SCO 

That stone shall sooner tell; and shew'd a stone. 

The god withdrew, but straight return'd again, 
In speech and habit like a country swain ; 
And cries out, Neighbour hast thou seen a stray 
Of bullocks and of heifers pass this way ? 865 

In the recov'ry of my cattle join, 
A bullock and a heifer shall be thine. — 
The peasant quick replies : You'll find 'em there 
In yon dark vale : — and in the vale they were. 
The double bribe had his false heart beguil'd : 870 
The god, successful in the trial, smil'd : — 
And dost thou thus betray myself to me ? 
Me to myself do3t thou betray ? says he : — 
Then to a Touch-stone turns the faithless spy, 
And in his name records his infamy. 875 

This done, the god flew up on high, and pass'd 
O'er lofty Athens, by Minerva grac'd, 
And wide Munichia, whilst his eyes survey 
All the vast region that beneath him lay. 

'Twas now the feast, when each Athenian maid 
Her yearly homage to Minerva paid; 881 

In canisters, with garlands cover'd o'er, 
High on their heads their mystic gift they bore : 
And now, returning in a solemn train, 
The troop of shining virgins fill'd the plain. 885 

BOOK II. 51 

The god, well-pleas'd, beheld the pompous show, 
And saw the bright procession pass below ; 
Then veer'd about, and took a wheeling flight, 
And hover'd o'er them : As the spreading kite, 
That smells the slaughter'd victim from on high, 890 
Flies at a distance, if the priests are nigh, 
And sails around, and keeps it in her eye ; 
So kept the god the virgin quire in view, 
And in slow winding circles round them flew. 

As Lucifer excels the meanest star, 895 

Or, as the full-orb'd Phoebe Lucifer ; 
So much did Herse all the rest outvie, 
And gave a grace to the solemnity. 
Hermes was fir'd, as in the clouds he hung : 
So the cold bullet, that, with fury slung 900 

From Balearic engines, mounts on high, 
Glows in the whirl, and burns along the sky. 
At length he pitch'd upon the ground, and shew'd 
The form divine, the features of a god. 
He knew their virtue o'er a female heart, 905 

And yet he strives to better them by art. 
He hangs his mantle loose, and sets to show 
The golden edging on the seam below; 
Adjusts his flowing curls, and in his hand 
Waves, with an air, the sleep-procuring wand ; 910 
The glitt'ring sandals to his feet applies, 
And to each heel the well-trimm'd pinion ties. 

His ornaments with nicest art display'd, 
He seeks th' apartment of the royal maid. 
The roof was all with polish'd iv'ry lin'd, 915 

That, richly mix'd, in clouds of tortoise shin'd. 
There rooms, contiguous, in a range were plac'd, 
The midmost by the beauteous Herse grac'd; 
Her virgin sisters lodg'd on either side. 
Aglauros first th' approaching god descry'd, 920 

And, as he cross'd her chamber, ask'd his name, 
And what his business was, and whence he came. 

I come (reply'd the god), from heav'n to woo 
Your sister, and to make an aunt of you ; 
I am the son and messenger of Jove, 925 

My name is Mercury, my bus'ness love : 
Do you, kind damsel, take a lover's part, 


And gain admittance to your sister's heart. 

She star'd him in the face with looks amaz'd, 
As when she on Minerva's secret gaz'd, 939 

And asks a mighty treasure for her hire, 
And, till he brings it, makes the god retire. 
Minerva griev'd to see the nymph succeed; 
And now rememb'ring the late impious deed, 
When, disobedient to her strict command, 935 

Shetouch'd the chest with an unhallow'd hand; 
In big-swoln sighs her inward rage express'd, 
That heav'd the rising JEgls on her breast; 
Then sought out Envy in her dark abode, 
Defil'd with ropy gore and clots of blood : 940 

Shut from the winds and from the wholesome skies, 
In a deep vale the gloomy dungeon lies, 
Dismal and cold, where not a beam of light 
Invades the winter, or disturbs the night. 

Directly to the cave her course she steer'd ; 915 
Against the gates her martial lance she rear'd ; 
The gates flew open, and the fiend appear'd. 
A pois'nous morsel in her teeth she chew'd, 
And gorg'd the flesh of vipers for her food. 
Minerva loathing, turn'd away her eye ; 950 

The hideous monster, rising heavily, 
Came stalking forward, with a sullen pace, 
And left her mangled offals on the place. 

Soon as she saw the goddess, gay and bright, 
She fetch'd a groan at such a cheerful sight. 955 

Livid and meagre were her looks ; her eye, 
In foul, distorted glances, turn'd awry : 
A hoard of gall her inward parts possess'd, 
And spread a greenness o'er her canker'd breast • 
Her teeth were brown with rust, and, from her tongue, 
In dangling drops, the stringy poison hung. qq\ 

She never smiles but when the wretched weep, 
Nor lulls her malice with a moment's sleep. 
Restless in spite ; while watchful to destroy, 
She pines and sickens at another's joy ; 965 

Foe to herself, distressing and distrest, 
She bears her own tormentor in her breast. 

The goddess gave (for she abhorr'd her sight) 
A short command : — To Athens speed thy flight ; 

BOOK II. 53 

On curst Aglauros try thy utmost art, 970 

And fix thy rankest venoms in her heart. 

This said, her spear she push'd against the ground, 
And, mounting from it with an active bound, 
Flew off to heav'n : The hag, with eyes askew, 
Look'd up, and mutter'd curses as she flew ; 975 

For sore she fretted, and began to grieve 
At the success which she herself must give ; 
Then takes her staff, hunground with wreaths of thorn, 
And sails along, in a black whirlwind borne, 
O'er fields and flow'ry meadows : Where she steers 
Her baneful course, a mighty blast appears, 981 

Mildews and blight ; the meadows are defac'd, 
The fields, the flow'rs, and the whole year laid waste ; 
On mortals next, and peopled towns she falls, 
And breathes a burning plague among their walls. 985 

When Athens she beheld, for arts renown'd, 
With peace made happy, and with plenty crown'd, 
Scarce could the hideous fiend from tears forbear, 
To find out nothing that deserv'd a tear. 
Th' apartment now she enter'd, where at rest 990 
Aglauros lay, with gentle sleep opprest. 
To execute Minerva's dire command, 
She strok'd the virgin with her canker'd hand ; 
Then prickly thorns into her breast convey'd, 
That stung to madness the devoted maid ; 995 

Her subtle venom still improves the smart, 
Frets in the blood, and festers in the heart. 

To make the work more sure, a scene she drew, 
And plac'd before the dreaming virgin's view 
Her sister's marriage, and her glorious fate : 1000 

Th' imaginary bride appears in state ; 
The bridegroom with unwonted beauty glows ; 
For envy magnifies whate'er she shews. 

Full of the dream, Aglauros pin'd away 
In tears all night, in darkness all the day; 1005 

Consum'd like ice, that just begins to run, 
When feebly smitten by the distant sun ; 
Or, like unwholesome weeds that, set on fire, 
Are slowly wasted, and in smoke expire. 
Giv'n up to envy (for, in ev'ry thought, 1010 

The thorns, the venom, and the vision wrought), 


Oft did she call on Death ; as oft decreed, 

Rather than see her sister's wish succeed, 

To tell her awful father what had past : 

At length before the door herself she cast ; 1015 

And, sitting on the ground, with sullen pride, 

A passage to the love-sick god deny'd. 

The god caress'd, and for admission pray'd, 

And sooth'd, in softest words, th' envenom'd maid. 

In vain he sooth'd : Begone ! (the maid replies), 1020 

Or here I keep my seat, and never rise. — 

Then keep thy seat, for ever ! (cries the god,) 

And touch'd the door, wide op'ning to his rod. — 

Fain would she rise, and stop him, but she found 

Her trunk too heavy to forsake the ground ; 1025 

Her joints are all benumb'd, her hands are pale, 

And marble now appears in ev'ry nail. 

As when a cancer in the body feeds, 

And gradual death, from limb to limb, proceeds ; 

So does the chillness to each vital part 1030 

Spread by degrees, and creeps into her heart ; 

Till, hard'ning ev'ry where, and speechless grown, 

She sits unmov'd, and freezes to a stone. 

But still her envious hue and sullen ruein 

Are in the sedentary figure seen. 1035 

When now the god his fury had allay'd, 
And taken vengeance of the stubborn maid, 
From where the bright Athenian turrets rise, 
He mounts aloft, and re-ascends the skies. 
Jove saw him enter the sublime abodes, 104ft 

And, as he mix'd among the crowd of gods, 
Beckon'd him out, and drew him from the rest, 
And, in soft whispers, thus his will express'd : 

My trusty Hermes, by whose ready aid 
Thy sire's commands are through the world convey'd, 
Resume thy wings, exert thy utmost force, 1046 

And to the walls of Sidon speed thy course ; 
There find a herd of heifers wand'ring o'er 
The neighb'ring hill, and drive 'em to the shore. 

Thus spake the god, concealing his intent : 1050 
The trusty Hermes on his message went, 
And found the herd of heifers wand'ring o'er 

BOOK II. 55 

A neighb'ring hill, and drove 'em to the shore; 
Where the king's daughter, with a lovely train 
Of fellow-nymphs, was sporting on the plain 1055 

The dignity of empire laid aside 
(For love but ill agrees with kingly pride), 
The Ruler of the skies, the thund'ring god, 
Who shakes the world's foundations with a nod, 
Among a herd of lowing heifers ran, 1060 

Frisk'd in a bull, and bellow'd o'er the plain. 
Large rolls of fat about his shoulders clung, 
And from his neck the double dewlap hung. 
His skin was whiter than the snow that lies 
Unsully'd by the breath of southern skies ; 1065 

Small shining horns on his curl'd forehead stand, 
As turn'd and polish'd by the workman's hand; 
His eye-balls roll'd, not formidably bright, 
But gaz'd and languish M with a gentle light. 
His ev'ry look was peaceful, and express'd 1070 

The softness of the lover in the beast. 
Agenor's royal daughter, as she play'd 
Among the fields, the milk-white bull survey'd, 
And view'd his spotless body with delight, 
And, at a distance, kept him in her sight. 1075 

At length she pluck'd the rising flow'rs, and fed 
The gentle beast, and fondly strok'd his head. 
He stood well pleas'd to touch the charming fair, 
But hardly could confine his pleasure there. 
And now he wantons o'er the neighb'ring strand, 
Now rolls his body on the yellow sand ; 1081 

And now, perceiving all her fears decayed, 
Comes tossing forward to the royal maid; 
Gives her his breast to stroke, and downward turns 
His grisly brow, and gently stoops his horns. 10S5 
In flow'ry wreaths the royal virgin dress'd 
His bending horns, and kindly clapt his breast. 
Till now grown wanton, and devoid of fear, 
Not knowing that she pressed the Thunderer, 
She plac'd herself upon his back, and rode 1090 

O'er fields and meadows, seated on the god. 

He gently march'd along, and, by degrees, 
Left the dry meadow, and approach'd the seas ; 
Where now he dips his hoofs, and wets his thighs, 


Now plunges in, and carries off the prize. 1095 

The frighted nymph looks backward on the shore, 
And hears the tumbling billows round her roar; 
But still she holds him fast : one hand is borne 
Upon his back ; the other grasps a horn : 
Her train of ruffling garments flies behind, 1100 

Swells in the air, and hovers in the wind. 

Through storms and tempests he the virgin bore, 
And lands her safe on the Dictean shore ; 
Where now, in his divinest form array'd, 
In his true shape he captivates the maid; 1105 

Who gazes on him, and, with wond'ring eyes, 
Beholds the new, majestic figure, rise, 
His glowing features, and celestial light, 
And all the god discover'd to her sight. 



The story of Cadmus. The transformation of Actaeon into a stag. 
The birth of Bacchus. The transformation of Tiresias. The 
transformation of Echo. The story of Narcissus. The story of 
Pentheus: the mariners transformed into dolphins: the death 
of Pentheus. 

When now Agenor had his daughter lost, 

He sent his son to search on ev'ry coast; 

And sternly bade him to his arms restore 

The darling maid, or see his face no more, 

But live an exile in a foreign clime ; 5 

Thus was the father pious to a crime. 

The restless youth search M all the world around ; 
But how can Jove in his amours be found? 
When tir'd at length with unsuccessful toil, 
To shun his angry sire and native soil, If) 

He goes a suppliant to the Delphic dome ; 
There asks the god what new-appointed home 
Should end his wand'rings, and his toils relieve? 
The Delphic oracles this answer give : 

Behold among the fields a lonely cow, 15 

Unworn with yokes, unbroken to the plough ; 


Mark well the place where first she lays her down, 
There measure out thy walls, and build thy town, 
And from thy guide Boeotia call the land, 
In which the destin'd walls and town shall stand. 20 

No sooner had he left the dark abode, 
Big with the promise of the Delphic god, 
When in the fields the fatal cow he view'd, 
Nor gall'd with yoke3, nor worn with servitude : 
Her gently at a distance he pursu'd ; 2.5 

And, as he walk'd aloof, in silence pray'd 
To the great pow'r whose counsels he obey'd. 
Her way through flow'ry Panope she took, 
And now, Cephisus, cross'd thy silver brook; 
When to the heav'ns her spacious front she rais'd, 30 
And bellow'd thrice, then backward turning, gaz'd 
On those behind, till on the destin'd place 
She stoop'd, and couch'd, amid the rising grass. 

Cadmus salutes the soil, and gladly hails 
The new-found mountains and the nameless vales, 35 
And thanks the gods, and turn3 about his eye 
To see his new dominions round him lie ; 
Then sends his servants to a neighb'ring grove 
For living streams, a sacrifice to Jove. 
O'er the wide plain there rose a shady wood 40 

Of aged trees ; in its dark bosom stood 
A bushy thicket, pathless and unworn, 
O'errun with brambles, and perplex'd with thorn : 
Amidst the brake a hollow den was found, 
With rocks and shelving arches vaulted round. 1.5 

Deep in the dreary den, conceal'd from day, 
Sacred to Mars, a mighty dragon lay, 
Bloated with poison to a monstrous size ; 
Fire broke in flashes when he glanc'd his eyes : 
His tow'ring crest was glorious to behold, 50 

His shoulders and his sides were scal'd with gold; 
Three tongues he brandish'd when he charg'd his foes ; 
His teeth stood jaggy in three dreadful rows. 
The Tyrians in the den for water sought, 
And with their urns explor'd the hollow vault : 55 

From side to side their empty urns rebound, 
And rouse the sleeping serpent with their sound. 
Straight he bestirs him, and is seen to rise ; 
D 2 


And now with dreadful hissings fills the sties, 

And darts his f or ky tongues, and rolls his glaring eyes. 

The Tyrians drop their vessels in the fright, 61 

All pale and trembling at the hideous sight. 

Spire above spire uprear'd in air he stood, 

And gazing round him, overlooked the wood : 

Then floating on the ground in circles roll'd ; 65 

Then leap'd upon them in a mighty fold. 

Of such a bulk, and such a monstrous size, 

The serpent in the polar circle lies, 

That stretches over half the northern skies. 

In vain the Tyrians on their arms rely, 70 

In vain attempt to fight, in vain to fly : 
All their endeavours and their hopes are vain ; 
Some die entangled in the winding train ; 
Some are devour'd, or feel a loathsome death, 
Swoln up with blasts of pestilential breath. 75 

And now the scorching sun was mounted high, 
In all its lustre, to the noon-day sky; 
When, anxious for his friends, and fill'd with cares, 
To search the woods th' impatient chief prepares. 
A lion's hide avound his loins he wore, 80 

The well-pois'djav'lin to the field he bore, 
Inur'd to blood ; the far-destroying dart ; 
And, the best weapon, an undaunted heart. 

Soon as the youth approach'd the fatal place, 
He saw his servants breathless on the grass ; 85 

The scaly foe amid their corse he view'd, 
Basking at ease, and feasting in their blood. 
Such friends (he cries) deserv'd a longer date ; 
But Cadmus will revenge or share their fate. 
Then heav'd a stone, and rising to the throw, 90 

He sent it in a whirlwind at the foe : 
A tow'r assaulted by so rude a stroke, 
With all its lofty battlements had shook ; 
But nothing here th' unwieldy rock avails, 
Rebounding harmless from the plated scales, 95 

That, firmly join'd, preserv'd him from a wound, 
With native armour crusted all around. 
With more success the dart unerring flew, 
Which at his back the raging warrior threw; 
Amid the plated scales it took its course, 100 


And in the spinal marrow spent its force. 

The monster hiss'd aloud, and rag'd in vain, 

And writh'd his body to and fro with pain ; 

He bit the dart, and wrench'd the wood away, 

The point still buried in the marrow lay. 105 

And now his rage, increasing with his pain, 

Reddens his eyes, and beats in every vein ; 

Churn'd in his teeth the foamy venom rose, 

Whilst from his mouth a blast of vapours flows, 

Such as th' infernal Stygian waters cast: 110 

The plants around him wither in the blast. 

Now in a maze of rings he lies enroll'd, 

Now all unravell'd, and without a fold : 

Now, like a torrent, with a mighty force 

Bears down the forest in hi3 boist'rous course. 115 

Cadmus gave back, and on the lion's spoil 

Sustained the shock, then forc'd him to recoil ; 

The pointed jav'lin warded off his rage : 

Mad with his pains, and furious to engage, 

The serpent champs the steel, and bites the spear, 120 

Till blcod and venom all the point besmear, 

But still the hurt he yet receiv'd was slight ; 

For, whilst the champion with redoubled might 

Strikes home the jav'lin, his retiring foe 

Shrinks from the wound, and disappoints the blow. 

The dauntless hero still pursues his stroke, 12G 

And presses forward, till a knotty oak 
Retards his foe, and stops him in the rear ; 
Full in his throat he plung'd the fatal spear, 
That in th' extended neck a passage found, 130 

And pierc'd the solid timber through the wound. 
Fix'd to the reeling trunk, with many a stroke 
Of his huge tail, he lash'd the sturdy oak; 
Till spent with toil, and lab'ring hard for breath, 
He now lay twisting in the pangs of death. 135 

Cadmus beheld him wallow in a flood 
Of swimming poison, intermix'd with blood ; 
When suddenly a speech was heard from high 
(The speech was heard, nor was the speaker nigh), 
Why dost thou thus with secret pleasure see, 140 
Insulting man I what thou thyself shalt be? 
Astonish'd at the voice, he stood ainaz'd, 


And all around with inward horror gaz'd ; 
When Pallas, swift descending from the skies, 
Pallas, the guardian of the bold and wise, 145 

Bids him plough up the field, and scatter round 
The dragon's teeth o'er all the furrow'd ground ; 
Then tells the youth how to his wond'ring eyes 
Embattled armies from the field should rise. 

He sows the teeth at Pallas's command, 150 

And flings the future people from his hand. 
The clods grow warm, and crumble where he sows ; 
And now the pointed spears advance in rows ; 
Now nodding plumes appear, and shining crests, 
Now the broad shoulders and the rising breasts; 155 
O'er all the field the breathing harvest swarms, 
A growing host, a crop of men and arms. 
So through the parting stage a figure rears 
Tts body up, and limb by limb appears 
By just degress; till all the man arise, 160 

And in his full proportion strikes the eyes. 

Cadmus surpris'd, and startled at the sight 
Of his new foes, prepar'd himself for fight : 
When one cry'd out, Forbear, fond man, forbear, 
To mingle in a blind, promiscuous war. 165 

This said, he struck his brother to the ground, 
Himself expiring by another's wound ; 
Nor did the third his conquest long survive, 
Dying ere scarce he had begun to live. 

The dire example ran through all the field, 170 

Till heaps of brothers were by brothers kill'd* 
The furrows swam in blood; and only five 
Of all the vast increase were left alive; 
Echion one, at Pallas's command, 
Let fall the guiltless weapon from his hand, 175 

And with the rest a peaceful treaty makes, 
Whom Cadmus as his friends and partners takes : 
So founds a city on the promis'd earth, 
And gives his new Boeotian empire birth. [guess'd 

Here Cadmus reign'd, and now one would have 
The royal founder in his exile blest : 181 

Long did he live within his new abodes, 
Ally'd by marriage to the deathless gods ; 
And, in a fruitful wife's embraces old, 


A long increase of children's children told : 185 

But no frail man, however great or high, 
Can he concluded blest before he die. 
Actaeon was the first of all his race, 
Who griev'd his grandsire in his borrow'd face; 
Condemn'd by stern Diana to bemoan 190 

The branching horns, and visage not his own ; 
To shun his once-lov'd dogs, to bound away, 
And from their huntsman to become their prey. 
And yet consider why the change was wrought, 
You'll find it his misfortune, not his fault; 195 

Or, if a fault, it was the fault of chance : 
For how can guilt proceed from ignorance ? 

In a fair chase a shady mountain stood, [blood. 
Well-stored with game, and mark'd with trails of 
Here did the huntsmen, till the heat of day, 200 

Pursue the stag, and load themselves with prey ; 
When thus Actaeon, calling to the rest : 
My friends (says he), our sport is at the best: 
The sun is high advanc'd, and downward sheds 
His burning beams directly on our heads ; 205 

Then, by consent, abstain from farther spoils, 
Call off" the dogs, and gather up the toils; 
And ere to-morrow's sun begins his race, 
Take the cool morning to renew the chase. — 
They all consent, and in a cheerful train 210 

The jolly huntsmen, laden with the slain, 
Return in triumph from the sultry plain. 

Down in a vale with pine and cypress clad, 
Refresh'd with gentle winds, and brown with shade 
(The chaste Diana's private haunt), there stood, 215 
Full in the centre of the darksome wood, 
A spacious grotto, all around o'er-grown 
With hoary mos?, and arch'd with pumice stone. 
From out its rocky cleft the waters flow, 
And, trickling, swell into a lake below. 220 

Nature had ev'ry where so play'd her part, 
That ev'ry where she seem'd to vie with art. 
Here the bright goddess, toil'd and chaf'd with heat, 
Was wont to bathe her in the cool retreat. 

Here did she now with all her train resort, 225 
Panting with heat, and breathless from the sport ; 


Her armour-bearer laid her bow aside, 
Some loos'd her sandals, some her veil unty'd; 
Each busy nymph her proper part undress'd; 
While Crocale, more handy than the rest, 230 

Gather'd her flowing hair, and in a noose 
Bound it together, whilst her own hung loose. 
Five of the more ignoble sort, by turns, 
Fetch up the water, and unlade the urns. 

Now all undrest the shining goddess stood, 235 
When young Actaeon, wilder'd in the wood, 
To the cool grot by his hard fate betray'd, 
The fountains fill'd with naked nymphs survey'd. 
The frighted virgins shriek'd at the surprise 
(The forest echo'd with their piercing cries), 240 

Then in a huddle round their goddess press'd : 
She, proudly eminent above the rest, 
With blushes glow'd ; such blushes as adorn 
The ruddy welkin , or the purple morn : 
And, tho' the crowding nymphs her body hide, 245 
Half backward shrunk, and view'd him from 

Surpris'd, at first she would have snatch'd her bow, 
But sees the circling waters round her flow ; 
These in the hollow of her hand she took, 
And dash'd 'em in his face while thus she spoke: 250 
Tell, if thou canst, the wondrous sight disclos'd, 
A goddess naked to thy view expos'd. 

This said, the man began to disappear 
By slow degrees, and ended in a deer : 
A rising horn on either brow he wears, 255 

And stretches out his neck, and pricks his ears; 
Bough is his skin, with sudden hairs o'er-grown, 
His bosom pants with fears before unknown : 
Transform'd at length, he flies away in haste, 
And wonders why he flies away so fast. 260 

But as by chance, within a neighb'ring brook, 
He saw his branching horns, and alter'd look, 
Wretched Actaeon ! in a doleful tone 
He try'd to speak, but only gave a groan ; 
And as he wept, within the wat'ry glass, 265 

He saw the big round drops, with silent pace, 
Run trickling down a savage, hairy face. 
What should he do 1 Or seek his old abodes, 


Or herd among the deer, and skulk in woods? 

Here shame dissuades him, there his fear prevails, 270 

And each by turns his aching heart assails. 

As he thus ponders, he behind him spies 
His op'ning hounds, and now he hears their cries : 
A gen'rous pack, or to maintain the chase, 
Or snuff the vapour from the scented grass. 275 

He bounded off with fear, and swiftly ran 
O'er craggy mountains, and the flow'ry plain ; 
Through brakes and thickets forc'd his way, and flew 
Through many a ring, where once he did pursue. 
In vain he oft endeavour'd to proclaim 280 

His new misfortune, and to tell his name ; 
Nor voice nor words the brutal tongue supplies ; 
From shouting men, and horns, and dogs, he flies, 
Deafen'd and stunn'd with their promiscuous cries. 
When now the fleetest of the pack, that press'd 285 
Close at his heels, and sprung before the rest, 
Had fasten'd on him, straight another pair, 
Hung on his wounded haunch, and held him there, 
Till all the pack came up, and every hound 
Tore the sad huntsman grovelling on the ground, 290 
Who now appear'd but one continued wound. 
With dropping tears his bitter fate he moans, 
And fills the mountains with his dying groans. 
His servants, with a piteous look he spies, 
And turns about his supplicating eyes : 296 

His servants, ignorant of what had chanc'd, 
With eager haste and joyful shouts advanc'd, 
And call'd their lord Actseon to the game : 
He shook his head in answer to the name ; 
He heard, but wish'd he had indeed been gone, 300 
Or only to have stood a looker-on : 
But, to his grief, he finds himself too near, 
And feels his rav'nous dogs with fury tear 
Their wretched master, panting, in a deer. 

Actaeon's suff 'rings, and Diana's rage, 305 

Did all the thoughts of men and gods engage ; 
Some call'd the evils, which Diana wrought, 
Too great and disproportion^ to the fault ; 
Others again, esteem'd Actaeon's woes 


Fit for a virgin goddess to impose. 310 

The hearers into difFrent parts divide, 
And reasons are produc'd on either side. 

Juno alone, of all that heard the news, 
Nor would condemn the goddess, nor excuse : 
She heeded not the justice of the deed, 315 

But joy'd to see the race of Cadmus bleed; 
For still she kept Europa in her mind, 
And, for her sake, detested all her kind. 
Besides, to aggravate her hate, she heard 
How Semele to Jove's embrace preferr'd, 320 

Was now grown big with an immortal load, 
And carry'd in her womb a future god. 
Thus terribly incens'd, the goddess broke 
To sudden fury, and abruptly spoke : 

Are my reproaches of so small a force? 325 

'Tis time then I pursue another course : 
It is decreed the guilty wretch shall die, 
If I'm indeed the mistress of the sky, 
If rightly styl'd among the pow'rs above, 
The wife and sister of the thund'ring Jove, 330 

(And none can sure a sister's right deny); 
It is decreed the guilty wretch shall die. 
She boasts an honour I can hardly claim, 
Pregnant she rises to a mother's name ; 
While proud and vain she triumphs in her Jove, 335 
And shews the glorious tokens of his love : 
But if I'm still the mistress of the skies, 
By her own lover the fond beauty dies. 
This said, descending in a yellow cloud, 
Before the gates of Semele she stood. 340 

Old Berbe's decrepit shape she wears, 
Her wrinkled visage, and her hoary hairs; 
Whilst in her trembling gait she totters on, 
And learns to tattle in the nurse's tone. 
The goddess, thus disguis'd in age, beguil'd, 345 

With pleasing stories, her false foster-child. 
Much did she talk of love, and when she came 
To mention to the nymph her lover's name, 
Fetching a sigh, and holding down her head, 
'Tis well (says she), if all be true that's said. 350 

But trust me, child, I'm much inclin'd to fear, 


Some counterfeit in this your Jupiter. 

Many an honest, well-designing maid, 

Has heen by these pretended gods betray'd : 

But if he be indeed the thund'ring Jove, 355 

Bid him, when next he courts the rites of love, 

Descend triumphant from th' ethereal sky, 

In all the pomp of his divinity, 

Encompass'd round by those celestial charms, 

With which he fills th' immortal Juno's arms. 360 

Th' unwary nymph, ensnar'd with what she said, 
De3ir'd of Jove, when next he sought her bed, 
To grant a certain gift which she would choose ; — 
Fear not (reply'd the god) that I'll refuse 
Whate'er you ask: may Styx confirm my voice; 365 
Choose what you will, and you shall have your choice. 
Then (says the nymph), when next you seek my arms, 
May you descend in those celestial charms, 
With which your Juno's bosom you inflame, 
And fill with transport heav'n's immortal dame. 370 
The god, surpris'd, would fain have stopp'd her voice, 
But he had sworn, and she had made her choice. 

To keep bis promise he ascends, and shrouds 
His awful brow in whirlwinds and in clouds; 
Whilst all around, in terrible array, 375 

His thunders rattle, and his lightnings play. 
And yet the dazzling lustre to abate, 
He set not out in all his pomp and state, 
Clad in the mildest lightning of the skies, 
And arm'd with thunder of the smallest size ; 380 
Not those huge bolts, by which the giants slain 
Lay overthrown on the Phlegrean plain : 
'Twas of a lesser mould, and lighter weight ; 
They call it thunder of a second-rate ; 
For, the rough Cyclops, who, by Jove's command, 385 
Temper'd the bolt, and turn'd it to his hand, 
Work'd up less flame and fury in its make, 
And quench'd it sooner in the standing lake. 
Thus dreadfully adorn'd, with horror bright, 
Th' illustrious god, descending from his height, 390 
Came rushing on her in a storm of light. 

The mortal dame, too feeble to engage 
The lightning's flashes, and the thunder's rage, 


Consum'd amidst the glories she desir'd, 

And in the terrible embrace expir'd. 395 

But, to preserve his offspring from the tomb, 
Jove took him, smoking, from the blasted womb ; 
And, if on ancient tales we may rely, 
Inclos'd th' abortive infant in his thigh. 
Here when the babe had all his time fulfill'd, 400 
Ino first took him for her foster-child ; 
Then the Niseans, in their dark abode, 
Nurs'd secretly, with milk, the thriving god. 

'Twas now, while these transactions pass'd on 
And Bacchus thus procur'd a second birth, 405 

When Jove, dispos'd to lay aside the weight 
Of public empire, and the cares of state, 
As to his queen in nectar bowls he quaff'd: 
In troth, says he (and as he spoke, he laugh'd), 
The sense of pleasure in the male is far 410 

More dull and dead, than what you females share. 
Juno, the truth of what was said, deny'd; 
Tiresias, therefore, must the cause decide, 
For he the pleasure of each sex had try'd. 

It happen'd once, within a shady wood, 415 

Two twisted snakes he in conjunction view'd, 
When with his staff their slimy folds he broke, 
And lost his manhood at the fatal stroke. 
But, after sev'n revolving years, he view'd 
The self-same serpents in the self-same wood ; 420 
And if (says he) such virtue in you lie, 
That he who dares your slimy folds untie, 
Must change his kind, a second stroke I'll try. 
Again he struck the snakes, and stood again 
New-sex'd, and straight recover'd into man. 425 

Him, therefore, both the deities create 
The sov'reign umpire in their grand debate : 
And he declar'd for Jove: When Juno fir'd, 
More than so trivial an affair requir'd, 
Depriv'd him, in her fury, of his sight, 430 

And left him groping round in sudden night. 
But Jove (for so it is in heav'n decreed, 
That no one god repeal another's deed) 


Irradiates all his soul with inward light, 434 

And with the prophet's art relieves the want of sight. 

Fam'd far and near for knowing things to come, 
From him th' inquiring nations sought their doom ; 
The fair Liriope his answers try'd, 
And first th' unerring prophet justify'd. 
This nymph the god Cephisus had abus'd, 440 

With all his winding waters circumfus'd, 
And on the Nereid got a lovely boy, 
Whom her soft maids ev'n then beheld with joy. 

The tender dame, solicitous to know 
Whether her child should reach old age or no, 445 
Consults the sage Tiresias; who replies, 
If e'er he knows himself, he surely dies. 

Long liv'd the dubious mother in suspense, 
Till time unriddled all the prophet's sense. 
Narcissus now his sixteenth year began, 450 

Just turn'd of boy, and on the verge of man ; 
Many a friend the blooming youth caress'd : 
Many a love-sick maid her flame confess'd ; 
Such was his pride, in vain the friend caress'd; 
The love-sick maid in vain her flame confess'd. 455 

Once, in the woods, as he pursu'd the chase, 
The babbling Echo had descry'd his face ; 
She, who in other's words her silence break3, 
Nor speaks herself but when another speaks. 
Echo was then a maid, of speech bereft, 460 

Of wonted speech ; for, though her voice was left, 
Juno a curse did on her tongue impose, 
To sport with ev'ry sentence in the close. 
Full often, when the goddess might have caught 
Jove, and her rivals, in the very fault, 465 

This nymph, with subtle stories, would delay 
Her coming, till the lovers slipp'd away. 
The goddess found out the deceit in time, 
And then she cry'd : That tongue for this thy crime, 
Which could so many subtle tales produce, 470 

Shall be hereafter but of little use. 
Hence 'tis she praties in a fainter tone, 
With mimic sounds, and accents not her own. 

This love-sick virgin, overjoy'd to find 


The boy alone, still follow'd him behind; 475 

When glowing warmly at her near approach, 

As sulphur blazes at the taper's touch, 

She long'd her hidden passion to reveal, 

And tell her pains, but had not words to tell: 

She can't begin, but waits for the rebound, 480 

To catch his voice, and to return the sound. 

The nymph, when nothing could Narcissus move, 

Still dash'd with blushes for her slighted love, 

Liv'd in the shady covert of the woods, 

In solitary caves, and dark abodes; 485 

Where, pining, wander'd the rejected fair, 

'Till harass'd out, and worn away with care, 

The sounding skeleton, of blood bereft, 

Besides her bones and voice, had nothing left. 

Her bones are petrify'd, her voice is found 490 

In vaults, where still it doubles every sound. 

Thus did the nymphs in vain caress the boy, 
He still was lovely, but he still was coy; 
When one fair virgin of the slighted train 
Thus prayed the gods, provok'd by his disdain : 495 
O, may he love like me, and love like me in vain! — 
Rhamnusia pity'd the neglected fair, 
And, with just vengeance, answer'd to her pray'r. 

There stands a fountain in a darksome wood, 
Nor stain'd with falling leaves, nor rising mud ; 500 
Untroubled by the breath of winds it rests, 
Unsully'd by the touch of men or beasts ; 
High bow'rs of shady trees above it grow, 
And rising grass and cheerful greens below. 
Pleas'd with the form and coolness of the place, 505 
And over-heated by the morning chase, 
Narcissus on the grassy verdure lies : 
But whilst within the crystal fount he tries 
To quench his heat, he feels new heats arise- 
For, as his own bright image he survey'd, 510 

He fell in love with the fantastic shade ; 
And o'er the fair resemblance hung unmov'd, 
Nor knew, fond youth! it was himself he lov'd. 
The well-turn'd neck and shoulders he descries. 
The spacious forehead and the sparkling eyes; 515 


The hands* that Bacchus might not scorn to shew, 

And hair that round Apollo's head might flow ; 

With all the purple youthfulness of face, 

That gently blushes in the wat'ry glass ; 

By his own flames consum'd, the lover lies, 520 

And gives himself the wound by which he dies. 

To the cold water oft he joins his lips, 

Oft catching at the beauteous shade he dips 

His arms, as often from himself he slips. 

Nor knows he who it is his arms pursue 525 

With eager clasps, but loves he knows not who. 

What could, fond youth, this helpless passion move ? 
What kindle in thee this unpity'd love ? 
Thy own warm blush within the water glows, 
With thee the colour 'd shadow comes and goes, 530 
Its empty being on thyself relies; 
Step thou aside, and the frail charmer dies. 

Still o'er the fountain's wat'ry gleam he stood, 
Mindless of sleep, and negligent of food. 
Still view'd his face and languish'd as he view'd. 535 
At length he rais'd his head, and thus began 
To vent his griefs, and tell the woods his pain : 
You trees (says he), and thou surrounding grove, 
Who oft have been the kindly scenes of love, 
Tell me, if e'er within your shades did lie 540 

A youth so tortur'd, so perplex'd as 1 1 
I, who before me see the charming fair, 
Whilst there he stands, and yet he stands not there ; 
In such a maze of love my thoughts are lost: 
And yet no bulwark'd town, nor distant coast, 545 
Preserves the beauteous youth from being seen, 
No mountains rise, nor oceans flow between. 
A shallow water hinders my embrace ; 
And yet the lovely mimic wears a face 
That kindly smiles, and when I bend to join 550 

My lips to his, he fondly bends to mine. 
Hear, gentle youth, and pity my complaint, 
Come from thy well, thou fair inhabitant. 
My charms an easy conquest have obtain'd 
O'er other hearts, by thee alone disdain'd. 555 

But why should I despair? I'm sure he burns 
With equal flames, and languishes by turns. 


Whene'er I stoop, he offers at a kiss, 

And when my arms I stretch, he stretches his. 

His eye with pleasure on my face he keeps, 560 

He smiles my smiles, and when I weep he weeps; 

Whene'er I speak, his moving lips appear 

To utter something, which I cannot hear. 
Ah, wretched me ! I now begin too late 

To find out all the long, perplex'd deceit: 5C5 

It is myself I love, myself I see ; 

The gay delusion is a part of me. 

I kindle up the fires by which I burn, 

And my own beauties from the well return. 

Whom should I court? how utter my complaint? 570 

Enjoyment but produces my restraint, 

And too much plenty makes me die for want. 

How gladly would I from myself remove ! 

And at a distance set the thing I love. 

My breast is warm'd with such unusual fire, 575 

I wish him absent whom 1 most desire. 

And now I faint with grief; my fate draws nigh ; 

In all the pride of blooming youth I die. 

Death will the sorrows of my heart relieve: 

O, might the visionary youth survive, 580 

I should with joy my latest breath resign ; 
But, oh ! I see his fate involv'd in mine. 
This said, the weeping youth again return'd 

To the clear fountain, where again he burn'd ; 
His tears defac'd the surface of the well, 585 

With circle after circle, as they fell : 
And now the lovely face but half appears, 
O'errun with wrinkles, and deform'd with tears. 

Ah, whither (crie3 Narcissus) dost thou fly ? 
Let me still feed the flame by which I die ; 590 

Let me still see, though I'm no farther blest:— 
Then rends his garment off, and beats his breast; 
His naked bosom redden'd with the blow, 
In such a blush as purple clusters shew, 
Ere yet the sun's autumnal heats refine 595 

Their sprightly juice, and mellow it to wine. 
The glowing beauties of his breast he spies, 
And with a new, redoubled passion dies. 
As wax. dissolves, as ice begins to run, 


And trickle into drops before the sun ; 600 

So melts the youth, and languishes away, 

His beauty withers, and his limbs decay ; 

And none of those attractive charms remain, 

To which the slighted Echo sued in vain. 

She saw him in his present misery, 605 

Whom, spite of all her wrongs, she griev'd to see. 

She answer'd sadly to the lover's moan, 

Sigh'd back his sighs, and groan'd to ev'ry groan : 

Ah, youth, belov'd in vain ! Narcissus cries ; 

* Ah, youth, belov'd in vain !' the nymph replies. 610 

Farewell! says he; — the parting sound scarce fell 

From his faint lips ; but she reply'd, • Farewell!' 

Then on th' unwholesome earth he gasping lies, 

Till death shuts up those self-admiring eyes. 

To the cold shades his flitting ghost retires, 615 

And in the Stygian waves itself admires. 

For him the Naiads and the Dryads mourn, 
Whom the sad Echo answers in her turn. 
And now the sister-nymphs prepare his urn ; 
When, looking for his corse, they only found 620 

A rising stalk, with yellow blossoms crown'd. 

This sad event gave blind Tiresias fame, 
Through Greece established in a prophet's name. 

Th' unhallow'd Pentheus, only, durst deride 
The cheated people, and their eyeless guide: 625 

To whom the prophet, in his fury, said, 
Shaking the hoary honours of his head : 
'Twere well, presumptuous man, 'twere well for thee, 
If thou wert eyeless too, and blind like me : 
For the time comes, — nay, 'tis already here, 630 

When the young god's solemnities appear : 
Which if thou dost not with just rites adorn, 
Thy impious carcase, into pieces torn, 
Shall strew the woods, and hang on ev'ry thorn. 
Then, then, remember what I now foretel, 635 

And own the blind Tiresias saw too well. 

Still Pentheus scorns him, and derides his skill; 
But time did all the prophet's threats fulfil : [rode, 
For now through prostrate Greece young Bacchus 
Whilst howling matrons celebrate the god : 6 10 


All ranks and sexes to his orgies ran, 

To mingle in the pomps, and fill the train ; 

When Pentheus thus his wicked rage express'd : 

What madness, Thebans, has your souls possess'd ! 

Can hollow timbrels, can a drunken shout, 645 

And the lewd clamours of a beastly rout, 

Thus quell your courage? Can the weak alarm 

Of women's yells those stubborn souls disarm, 

Whom nor the sword nor trumpet e'er could fright, 

Nor the loud din and horror of a fight ? 650 

And you, our sires, who left your old abodes, 

And fix'd in foreign earth your country gods: 

Will you, without a stroke, your city yield, 

And poorly quit an undisputed field? 

But you, whose youth and vigour should inspire 655 

Heroic warmth, and kindle marshal fire, 

Whom burnish'd arms and crested helmets grace, 

Not flow'ry garlands, and a painted face ; 

Remember him to whom you stand ally'd : 

The serpent for his well of waters dy'd. 660 

He fought the strong ; do you his courage shew, 

And gain a conquest o'er a feeble foe. 

If Thebes must fall, oh ! might the Fates afford 

A noble doom from famine, fire, or sword ! 

Then might the Thebans perish with renown : 665 

But now a beardless victor sacks the town ; 

Whom nor the prancing steed, nor pond'rous shield, 

Nor the hack'd helmet, nor the dusty field, 

But the soft joys of luxury and ease, 

The purple vests, and flow'ry garlands please. 670 

Stand then aside, I'll make the counterfeit 

Renounce his godhead, and confess the cheat. 

Acrisius from the Grecian walls repell'd 

This boasted pow'r; why then should Pentheus yield ? 

Go quickly, drag th' impostor boy to me; 675 

I'll try the force of his divinity. 

Thus did th* audacious wretch those rites profane ; 
His friends dissuade th' audacious wretch in vain; 
In vain his grandsire urg'd him to give o'er 
His impious threats ; the wretch but raves the more. 
So I have seen a river gently glide 681 

In a smooth course, and inoffensive tide ; 


But if with dams its current we restrain, 
It bears down all, and foams along the plain. 

But now his servants came, besmear'd with blood, 
Sent by their haughty prince to seize the god ; 636 
The god they found not in the frantic throng, 
But dragg'd a zealous yotary along. 

Him Pentheus view'd, with fury in his look, 689 
And scarce .withheld his hands, while thus he spoke : 
Vile slave: whom speedy vengeance shall pursue, 
And terrify thy base seditious crew ; 
Thy country and thy parentage reveal, 
And, why thou join'st in these mad orgies, tell. 

The captive views him with undaunted eyes, 695 
And, arm'd with inward innocence, replies : 

From high Msebnia's rocky shores I came, 
Of poor descent, Acoetes is my name : 
My sire was meanly born ; no oxen plough'd 
His fruitful fields, nor in his pasture low'd, 700 

His whole estate within the waters lay : 
With lines and hooks he caught the finny prey ; 
His art was all his livelihood ; which he 
Thus, with his dying lips, bequeath'd to me : 

In streams, my boy, and rivers take thy chance; 
There swims (said he) thy whole inheritance, 706 
Long did I live on this poor legacy; 
Till, tir'd with rocks, and my old native sky, 
To arts of navigation I inclin'd ; 

Observ'd the turns and changes of the wind ; 710 

Learn'd the fit havens, and began to note 
The stormy Hy'ades, the rainy Goat, 
The bright Taygete, and the shining Bears, 
With all the sailor's catalogue of stars. 

Once as by chance for Delos I design'd, 715 

My vessel driv'n by a strong gust of wind, 
Moor'd in a Chian creek ; ashore I went, 
And all the following night in Chios spent. 
When morning rose, I sent my mates to bring 
Supplies of water from a neighb'ring spring, 729 

Whilst I the motion of the winds explor'd ; 
Then suramon'd in my crew, and went aboard. 
Opheltes heard my summons, and with joy, 


Brought to the shore a soft and lovely hoy, 

With more than female sweetness in his look, 725 

Whom straggling in the neighb'ring fields he took. 

With fumes of wine the little captive glows, 

And nods with sleep, and staggers as he goes. 

I viewed him nicely, and began to trace 
Each heav'nly feature, each immortal grace, 730 

And saw divinity in all his face. — 
I know not who, said I, this god should be ; 
But that he is a god, I plainly see : 
And thou, whoe'er thou art, excuse the force 
These men have us'd ; and oh, befriend our course ! 

Pray not for us, the nimble Dictys cry'd; 730 

Dictys, that could the main-top-mast bestride, 
And down the ropes with active vigour slide. 
To the same purpose old Epopeus spoke, 
Who over-look'd the oars, and tim'd the stroke ; 710 
The same the pilot, and the same the rest; 
Such impious avarice their souls possess'd. 

Nay, Heav'n forbid that I should bear away 
Within my vessel so divine a prey, 
Said I: and stood to hinder their intent: 745 

When Lycabas, a wretch for murder sent 
From Tuscany, to suffer banishment, 
With his clench'd fist had struck me overboard, 
Had not my hands in falling grasp'd a cord. 

His base confederates the fact approve ; 750 

When Bacchus (for 'twas he) began to move, 
Wak'd by the noise and clamours which they rais'd, 
And shook his drowsy limbs, and round him gaz'd : 
What means this noise? (he cries;) am I betray'd ? 
Ah! whither, whither must I be convey'd? — 755 

Fear not (said Proteus), child, but tell us where 
You wish to land, and trust our friendly care. — 
To Naxos then direct your course (said he) ; 
Naxos a hospitable port shall be 
To each of you, a joyfid home to me. 760 

By ev'ry god, that rules the sea or sky, 
The perjur'd villains promise to comply, 
And bid me hasten to unmoor the ship. 
With eager joy I launch into the deep ; 
And heedless of the fraud, for Naxos stand. 7ti5 


They whisper oft, and beckon with the hand, 

And give me signs, all anxious for their prey, 

To tack about, and steer another way. 

Then let some other to my post succeed, 

Said I, I'm guiltless of so foul a deed, 770 

What I says Ethalion, must the ship's whole crew 

Follow your humour, and depend on you ? 

And straight himself he seated at the prore, 

And tack'd about, and sought another shore. 

The beauteous youth now found himself betray'd, 775 

And from the deck the rising waves survey'd, 

And seem'd to weep, and, as he wept, he said: 

And do you thus my easy faith beguile ? 

Thus do you bear me to my native isle 1 

Will such a multitude of men employ rso 

Their strength against a weak, defenceless boy 1 

In vain did I the godlike youth deplore, 
The more I begg'd, they thwarted me the more. 
And now by all the gods in heav'n that hear 
The solemn oath, by Bacchus' self I swear, 7sr> 

The mighty miracle that did ensue, 
Although it seems beyond relief, is true. 
The vessel, fix'd and rooted in the flood, 
Unmov'd by all the beating billows stood. 
In vain the mariners would plough the main, 790 
With sails unfurl'd, and strike their oars in vain ; 
Around their oars a twining ivy cleaves, 
And climbs the mast, and hides the cords in leaves : 
The sails are cover'd with a cheerful green, 
And berries in the fruitful canvas seen, 705 

Amidst the waves a sudden forest rears 
Its verdant head, and a new spring appears. 

The god we now behold with open'd eyes ; 
And herd of spotted panthers round him lies 
In glaring forms ; the grapy clusters spread 800 

On his fair brows, and dangle on his head. 
And whilst he frowns, and brandishes his spear, 
My mates, surpris'd with madness or with fear, 
Leap'd overboard : First perjur'd Madon found 804 
Rough scales and fins his stiffening sides surround ; — 
Ah, what (cries one) has thus transform'd thy look ! 
Straight his own mouth grew wider as he spoke : 


And now himself he views with like surprise. 

Still at his oar th' industrious Libys plies ; 

But, as he plies, each busy arm shrinks in, 810 

And, by degrees, is fashion'd to a fin. 

Another, as he catches at a cord, 

Misses his arms, and, tumbling over-board, 

With his broad fins, and forky tail, he laves 

The rising surge, and flounces in the waves. 815 

Thus all my crew transform' d around the ship. 

Or dive below, or on the surface leap, 

And spout the waves, and wanton in the deep. 

Full nineteen sailors did the ship convey, 

A shoal of nineteen dolphins round her play. 8'20 

I only in my proper shape appear, 

Speechless with wonder, and half dead with fear, 

Till Bacchus kindly bade me fear no more. 

With him I landed on the Chian shore, 

And him shall ever gratefully adore. 825 

This forging slave (says Pentheus) would prevail 
O'er our just fury by a far-fetch'd tale : 
Go, let him feel the whips, the swords, the fire, 
And in the tortures of the rack expire. 

Th' officious servants hurry him away, 830 

And the poor captive in a dungeon lay. 
But, whilst the whips and tortures are prepar'd, 
The gates fly open, of themselves unbarr'd; 
At liberty th' unfetter'd captive stands, 
And flings the loosen'd shackles from his hands. S35 

But Pentheus, grown more furious than before, 
Itesolv'd to send his messengers no more, 
But went himself to the distracted throng, 
Where high Cithaeron echo'd with their song. 
And as the fiery war-horse paws the ground, 840 

And snorts and trembles at the trumpet's sound ; 
Transported thus he heard the frantic rout, 
And rav'd and madden'd at the distant shout. 

A spacious circuit on the hill there stood, 
Level and wide, and skirted round with wood ; 845 
Here the rash Pentheus, with unhallow'd eyes, 
The howling dames and mystic orgies spies. 
His mother sternly view'd him where he stood, 


And kindled into madness as she view'd : 

Her leafy jav'lin at her son she cast.. 850 

And cries : The boar that lays our country waste ! 

The boar, my sisters ! aim the fatal dart, 

And strike the brindled monster to the heart! 

Pentbeus, astonish'd, heard the dismal sound, 
And sees the yelling matrons gath'ring round ; 855 
He sees, and weeps at his approaching fate, 
And begs for mercy, and repents too late. — 
Help, help ! my aunt Antonbe ; he cry'd ; 
Remember, how your own Actseon dy'd. 

Deaf to his cries, the frantic matron crops 860 

One stretch'd out arm, the other Ino lops. 
In vain does Pentheus to his mother sue, 
And the raw bleeding stumps presents to view : 
His mother howi'd; and, heedless of his pray'r, 
Her trembling hand she twisted in his hair; 865 

And this (she cry'd) shall be Agave's share : 
When from his neck the struggling head she tore, 
And in her hands the ghastly visage bore. 
With pleasure all the hideous trunk survey ; 
Then pull'd and tore the mangled limbs away, 870 
As starting in the pangs of death it lay. 
Soon as the wood its leafy honours casts, 
Blown off and scatter'd by autumnal blasts, 
With such a sudden death lay Pentheus slain, 
And in a thousand pieces strew'd the plain. 875 

By so distinguishing a judgment aw'd, 
The Thebans tremble, and confess the god. 




The story of Alcithoe and her sisters. The story of Pyramus and 
Thisbe. The story "f Leueothoe and the sun. The transforma- 
tion of Clytie. The story of Salraacis and Hermaphroditus. 
Alcithoe and her sisters transformed to bats. The transforma- 
tion of Ino and Melicsrta to sea-gods. The transformation of 
the Tlieban matrons. Cadmus and his queen transformed to 
serpents. The story of Perseus. Atlas transformed to a 
mountain. Andromeda rescued from the sea-monster. The 
story of Medusa's head. 

Yet still Alcithoe perverse remains, 

And Bacchus still, and all his rites disdains. 

Too rash and madly bold, she bids him prove 

Himself a god; nor owns the son of Jove. 

Her sisters, too, unanimous agree, S 

Faithful associates in impiety. 

Be this a solemn feast, the priest had said; 
Be, with each mistress, unemploy'd each maid: 
With skins of beasts your tender limbs inclose, 
And with an ivy crown adorn your brows ; 10 

The leafy Thyrsus high in triumph bear, 
And give your locks to wanton in the air. 

These rites profan'd, the holy seer foreshew'd 
A mourning people, and a vengeful god. 

Matrons and pious wives obedience shew, 15 

Distaffs, and wool, half-spun, away they throw: 
Then incense burn, and, Bacchus, thee adore, 
Or lov'st thou Nyseus, or Lyaeus more ? 

O ! doubly got, O ! doubly born, they sung, 
Thou mighty Bromius, hail, from lightning sprung ! 20 
Hail, Thyon ! Eleleus ! each name is thine : 
Or listen, Parent of the genial Vine ! 
Iacchus! Evan! loudly they repeat, 
And not one Grecian attribute forget, 
Which to thy praise, great deity, belong, 25 

Styl'd justly Liber in the Roman song. 
Eternity of youth is thine! enjoy 
Years roll'd on years, yet still a blooming boy. 
In heav'n thou shin'st with a superior grace ; 
Conceal thy horns, and 'tis a virgin's face. 30 

BOOK IV. 79 

Thou taught'st the tawny Indian to obey, 

And Ganges, smoothly flowing, own'd thy sway. 

Lycurgus, Pentheus, equally profane, 

By thy just vengeance equally were slain. 

By thee the Tuscans, who conspir'd to keep 35 

Thee captive, plung'd, and cut with fins the deep ; 

With painted reins, all-glittering from afar, 

The spotted lynxes proudly draw thy car ; 

Around, the Bacchse, and the Satyrs throng; 

Behind, Silenus, drunk, lags slow along; 40 

On his dull ass he nods from side to side, 

Forbears to fall, yet half forgets to ride. 

Still, at thy near approach, applauses loud 

Are heard, with yellings of the female crowd. 

Timbrels, and boxen pipes, with mingled cries, 45 

Swell up in sounds confus'd, and rend the skies. 

Come, Bacchus, come propitious, all implore, 

And act thy sacred orgies o'er and o'er ! 

But Mineus' daughters, while these rites were paid, 
At home, impertinently busy, staid ; 50 

Their wicked tasks they ply with various art, 
And through the loom the sliding shuttle dart ; 
Or at the fire to comb the wool they stand, 
Or twirl the spindle with a dext'rous hand. 
Guilty themselves, they force the guiltless in ; 5;1 

Their maids, who share the labour, share the sin . 
At last one sister cries, who nimbly knew, 
To draw nice threads, and wind the finest clue: 
While others idly rove, and gods revere, 
Their fancy'd gods ! they know not who, or where ; 
Let us whom Pallas taught her better arts, 61 

Still working, cheer with mirthful chat our hearts, 
And to deceive the time, let me prevail 
With each by turns, to tell some antique tale. 

She said ; her sisters lik'd the humour well, 63 

And smiling, bade her the first story tell. 
But she awhile profoundly seem'd to muse, 
Perplex'd amid variety to choose : 
And knew not, whether she would first relate 
The poor Dircetis, and her wondrous fate ; 70 

The Palestines believe it to a man, 
And shew the lake, in which her scales began : 


Or if she rather should the daughter sing, 

Who in the hoary verge of life took wing ; 

Who soar'd from earth, and dwelt in tow'rs on high, 

And now a dove she flits along the sky : — 76 

Or how lewd Na'is, when her lust was cloy'd, 

To fishes turns the youths she had enjoy'd, 

By pow'rful verse, and herbs ; effect most strange ! 

At last the changer shar'd herself the change : — 80 

Or how the tree, which once white berries bore, 

Still crimson bears, since stain'd with crimson gore. 

The tree was new ; she likes it, and begins 

To tell the tale, and as she tells, she spins. 

In Babylon, where first her queen, for state, 85 

Rais'd walls of brick magnificently great, 
Liv'd Pyramus, and Thisbe, lovely pair: 
He found no eastern youth his equal there, 
And she beyond the fairest nymph was fair. 
A closer neighbourhood was never known, 90 

Though two the houses, yet the roof was one. 
Acquaintance grew : th' acquaintance they improve 
To friendship ; friendship ripen'd into love : 
Love had been crown'd, but impotently mad, 
What parents could not hinder, they forbade: 95 

For with fierce flames young Pyramus still burn'd, 
And grateful Thisbe flames as fierce return'd. 
Alcud in words their thoughts they dare not break, 
But silent stand (and silent looks can speak); 
The fire of love, the more it is supprest, 100 

The more it glows and rages in the breast. 

When the division-wall was built, a chink 
Was left, the cement unobserv'd to shrink. 
So slight the cranny, that it still had been 
For centuries unclos'd, because unseen. 105 

But, oh ! what thing so small, so secret lies, 
Which 'scapes, if form'd for love, a lover's eyes? 
Ev'n in this narrow chink they quickly found 
A friendly passage for a trackless sound ; 
Safely they told their sorrows and their joys, 110 

In whisper'd murmurs, and a dying noise : 
By turns to catch each other's breath they strove, 
And suck'd in all the balmy breeze of love. 

BOOK IV. 81 

Oft, as on diff'rent sides they stood, they cry'd: 
Malicious wall, thus lovers to divide ! 115 

Suppose, thou should'st awhile to us give place, 
To lock and fasten in a close embrace : 
But if too much to grant so sweet a bliss, 
Indulge, at least, the pleasure of a kiss. 
We scorn ingratitude: To thee, we know, 120 

This safe conveyance of our minds we owe. 

Thus they their vain petition did renew 
Till night, and then they softly sigh'd, adieu! 
But first they strove to kiss, and that was all; 
Their kisses dy'd untasted on the wall. 125 

Soon as the morn had o'er the stars prevail'd, 
And, warm'd by Phoebus, flow'rs their dews exhal'd, 
The lovers to their well-known place return, 
Alike they suffer, and alike they mourn. 
At last their parents they resolve to cheat 130 

(If to deceive in love be call'd deceit), 
To steal by night from home, and thence unknown 
To seek the fields, and quit th' unfaithful town. 
But, to prevent their wand'ring in the dark, 
They both agree to fix upon a mark ; 1 35 

A mark that could not their designs expose : 
The tomb of Ninus was the mark they chose ; 
There they might rest secure beneath the shade, 
Which boughs, with snowy fruit incumber'd, made : 
A wide-spread mulberry its rise had took 140 

Just on the margin of a gurgling brook. 

Impatient for the friendly dusk they stay ; 
And chide the slowness of departing day. 
In western seas down sunk at last the light, 
From western seas up-rose the shades of night. 145 
The loving Thisbe ev'n prevents the hour ; 
With cautious silence she unlocks the door, 
And veils her face, and, marching through the gloom, 
Swiftly arrives at th' assignation tomb 
(For still the fearful sex oan fearless prove ; — 150 
Boldly they act, if spirited by love); 
When, lo ! a lioness rush'd o'er the plain, 
Grimly besmear'd with blood of oxen slain : 
And what to the dire sight new horrors brought, 154 
To slake her thirst the neighb'ring spring she sought. 
E 2 


Which, by the moon, when trembling Thisbe spies, 
Wing'd with her fear, swift as the wind she flies ; 
And in a cave recovers from her fright, 
But dropp'd her veil confounded in her flight. 
When sated with repeated draughts, again 160 

The queen of beasts scour'd back along the plain, 
She found the veil, and, mouthing it all o'er, 
With bloody jaws, the lifeless prey she tore. 

The youth, who could not cheat his guards so soon, 
Late came, and noted, by the glimm'ring moon, 165 
Some savage feet new printed on the ground; 
His cheeks turn'd pale, his limbs no vigour found: 
But when, advancing on, the veil he spied, 
Distain'd with blood, and ghastly torn, he cried : 
One night shall death to two young lovers give, 170 
But she deserv'd unnumber'd years to live! 
'Tis I am guilty, I have thee betray'd, 
Who came not early as my charming maid. 
Whatever slew thee, I the cause remain ; 
I nam'd, and fix'd the place, where thou wast slain. 
Ye lions, from your neighb'ring dens repair, 176 

Pity the wretch, this impious body tear! 
But cowards thus for death can idly cry; 
The brave still have it in their pow'r to die. 

Then to th' appointed tree he hastes away, 180 

The veil first gather'd, though all rent it lay ; 
The veil all rent, yet still itself endears; 
He kiss'd, and kissing, washed it with his tears. 
Though rich (he cry'd) with many a precious stain, 
Still from my blood a deeper tincture gain. 1S& 

Then in his breast his shining sword he drown'd, 
And fell supine, extended on the ground. 
As out again the blade he dying drew, 
Out spun the blood, and streaming upwards flew. 

So if a conduit pipe e'er burst you saw, 190 

Swift spring the gushing waters through the flaw; 
Then spouting in a bow, they rise on high, 
And a new fountain plays amid the sky. 
The berries, stain'd with blood, began to shew 
A dark complexion, and forgot their snow; 195 

While fatten'd with the flowing gore, the root 
Was doom'd for ever to a purple fruit. 


Meantime poor Thisbe fear'd, so long she staid, 
Her lover might suspect a perjur'd maid. 
Her fright scarce o'er, she strove the youth to find, 
With ardent eyes, which spoke an ardent mind. 201 
Already in his arms, she hears him sigh 
At her destruction, which was once so nigh. 
The tomb, the tree, but not the fruit, she knew ; 
The fruit she doubted for its alter'd hue. 205 

Still as she doubts, her eyes a body found 
Quiv'ring in death, and gasping on the ground. 
She started back; the red her cheeks forsook, 
And ev'ry nerve with thrilling horrors shook. 
So trembles the smooth surface of the seas, 210 

If brush'd o'er gently with a rising breeze. 
But when her view her bleeding love confess'd, 
She shriek'd, 3he tore her hair, she beat her breast, 
She rais'd the body, and embrac'd it round, 
And bath'd with tears unfeign'd the gaping wound ; 
Then her warm lips to the cold face apply'd, 216 

And is it thus, ah ! thus we meet ! she cry'd : 
My Pyramus! whence sprang thy cruel fate? 
My Pyramus; — ah ! speak, ere 'tis too late: 
I, thy own Thisbe, but one word implore, 220 

One word thy Thisbe never ask'd before. 

At Thisbe's name, awak'd, he open'd wide 
His dying eyes ; with dying eyes he try'd 
On her to dwell, but clos'd them slow and died. 

The fatal cause was now at last explor'd, 225 

Her veil she knew, and saw his sheathless sword: — 
From thy own hand thy ruin thou hast found, 
She said; but love first taught that hand to wound. 
Ev'n I for thee as bold a hand can shew, 
And love, which shall as true direct the blow, 230 
I will against the woman's weakness strive, 
And never thee, lamented youth, survive. 
The world may say, I caus'd, alas ! thy death, 
But saw thee breathless, and resign'd my breath. 
Fate, though it conquers, shall no triumph gain, 235 
Fate, that divides us, still divides in vain. 

Now, both our cruel parents, hear my pray'r ; 
My pray'r to offer for us both I dare : 


O ! see our ashes in one urn confin'd, 

Whom love at first, and fate at last has join'd. '240 

The bliss you envy'd, is not oar request; 

Lovers, when dead, may sure together rest. 

Thou, tree, where now one lifeless lump is laid, 

Ere long o'er two shall cast a friendly shade. 

Still let our loves from thee be understood, 245 

Still witness in thy purple fruit our blood. — 

She spoke, and in her bosom plung'd the sword, 

All warm and reeking from its slaughter'd lord. 

The pray'r, which dying Thisbe had preferr'd, 
Both gods and parents with compassion heard. 250 
The whiteness of the mulberry soon fled, 
And rip'ning, sadden'd in a dusky red: 
While both their parents their lost children mourn, 
And mix their ashes in one golden urn. 

Thus did the melancholy tale conclude, 255 

And a short, silent interval ensu'd. 
The next in birth unloos'd her artful tongue, 
And drew attentive all the sister throng. 

The Sun, the source of light, by Beauty's pow'r 
Once am'rous grew ; then hear the Sun's amour. 260 
Venus, and Mars, with his far-piercing eyes 
This god first spy'd; this god first all things spies. 
Stung at the sight, and swift on mischief bent, 
To haughty Juno's shapeless son he went: 
The goddess, and her god gallant betray'd, 265 

And told the cuckold where their pranks were play'd. 
Poor Vulcan soon desir'd to hear no more, 
He dropp'd his hammer, and he shook all o'er : 
Then courage takes, and full of vengeful ire, 
He heaves the bellows, and blows fierce the fire, 270 
From liquid brass, though sure, yet subtle snares 
He forms, and next a wondrous net prepares, 
Drawn with such curious art, so nicely sly, 
Unseen the meshes cheat the searching eye. 
Not half so thin their webs the spiders weave, 275 
Which the most wary, buzzing prey deceive. 
These chains, obedient to the touch, he spread 
In secret foldings o'er the conscious bed : 
The conscious bed again was quickly prest 

BOOK IV. 85 

By the fond pair, in lawless raptures blest. 280 

Mars wonderM at his Cytherea's charms 
More fast than ever lock'd within her arms ; 
While Vulcan th' iv'ry doors unbarr'd with care, 
Then call'd the gods to view the sportive pair : 
The gods throng'd in, and saw in open day, 285 

Where Mars, and Beauty's queen, all naked lay. 
O shameful sight ! if shameful that we name, 
Which gods with envy view'd, and could not blame, 
But for the pleasure wish'd to bear the shame. 
Each deity, with laughter tir*d, departs, 290 

Yet all still laugh'd at Vulcan in their hearts. 

Through heav'n the news of this surpriaal run, 
But Venus did not thus forget the Sun. 
He, who stol'n transports idly had betray'd, 
By a betrayer was in kind repaid. 295 

What now avails, great god, thy piercing blaze, 
That youth, and beauty, and those golden rays 1 
Thou, who canst warm this universe alone. 
Feel'st now a warmth more pow'rful than thy own : 
And those bright eyes, which all things should survey, 
Know not from fair Leucothbe to stray : 301 

The lamp of light, for human good design'd, 
Is to one virgin niggardly confin'd. 
Sometimes too early rise thy eastern beams, 
Sometimes too late they set in western streams : 305 
'Tis then her beauty thy swift course delays, 
And gives to winter skies long summer days. 
Now in thy face thy love-sick mind appears, 
And spreads through impious nations empty fears : 
For when thy beamless head is wrapt in night, 310 
Poor mortals tremble in despair of light. 
'Tis not the moon that o'er thee casts a veil, 
'Tis love alone which makes thy looks so pale. 
Leucothbe is grown thy only care, 
Not Phaeton's fair mother now is fair : 315 

The youthful Rhodos moves no tender thought, 
And beauteous Porsa is at last forgot; 
Fond Clytie scorn'd, yet lov'd, and sought thy bed, 
Ev'n then thy heart for other virgins bled ; 
Leucoth'de has all thy soul possest, 
And chas'd each rival passion from thy breast. 32* 


To this bright nymph, Eurynome gave birth 
In the blest confines of the spicy earth; 
Excelling others, she herself beheld 
By her own blooming daughter far excell'd. 3?5 

The sire was Orchamus, whose vast command, 
The seventh from Belus, rul'd the Persian land. 
Deep in cool vales, beneath th' Hesperian sky, 
For the Sun's fiery steeds the pastures lie. 
Ambrosia there they eat, and thence they gain 330 
New vigour, and their daily toils sustain : 
While thus on heav'nly food the coursers fed, 
And night, around, her gloomy empire spread, 
The god assum'd the mother's shape, and air, 
And pass'd, unheeded, to his darling fair. 335 

Close by a lamp, with maids encompass'd round, 
The royal spinster, full employ'd, he found : 
Then cry'd, Awhile from work, my daughter, rest ; 
And, like a mother, scarce her lips he press'd. 
Servants, retire ! nor secrets dare to hear, 340 

Intrusted only to a daughter's ear. 
They swift obey'd : Not one, suspicious, thought 
The secret, which their mistress would be taught. 
Then he : Since now no witnesses are near, 
Behold the god, who guides the various year .' 345 

The world's vast eye, of light the source serene, 
Who all things sees, by whom are all things seen. 
Believe me, nymph! (for I the truth have shew'd,) 
Thy charms have pow'r to charm so great a god. 

Confus'd she heard him his soft passion tell; 350 
And on the floor, untwirl'd, the spindle fell : 
Still from the sweet confusion some new grace 
Blush'd out by stealth and languish'd in her face. 
The lover now inflam'd, himself put on, 
And out at once the god all radiant shone. 355 

The virgin startled at his alter'd form, 
Too weak to bear a god's impetuous storm : 
No more against the dazzling youth she strove, 
But silent yielded, and indulged his love. 

This, Clytie knew, and knew she was undone, 360 
Whose soul was fix'd, and doated on the Sun. 
She rag'd to think on her neglected charms, 
And Phoebus, panting in another's arms. 

BOOK IV. 87 

With envious madness fir'd, she flies in haste, 

And tells the ting his daughter was unchaste. 365 

The king, incens'd to hear his honour stain'd, 

No more the father, nor the man retain'd, 

In rain she stretch'd her arms, and turn'd her eyes 

To her lov'd god, th' enlightner of the skies. 

In vain she own'd it was a crime, yet still 370 

It was a crime not acted by her will. 

The brutal sire stood deaf to ev'ry pray'r, 

And deep in earth entomb'd alive the fair. 

What Phoebus could do was by Phoebus done, 

Full on her grave with pointed beams he shone : 375 

To pointed beams the gaping earth gave way; 

Had the nymph eyes, her eyes had seen the day ; 

But lifeless now, yet lovely still she lay. 

Not more the god wept, when the world was fir'd, 

And in the wreck his blooming boy expir'd. 380 

The vital flame he strives to light again, 

And warm the frozen blood in ev'ry vein : 

But since resistless fates denied that pow'r, 

On the cold nymph he rain'd a nectar show'r. 

Ah ! undeserving thus (he said) to die, 385 

Yet still in odours thou shalt reach the sky. 

The body soon dissolv'd, and all around 
Perfum'd with heav'nly fragrances the ground. 
A sacrifice for gods up-rose from thence, 
A sweet delightful tree of frankincense. 390 

Though guilty Clytie thus the Sun betray'd, 
By too much passion she was guilty made : 
Excess of love begot excess of grief, 
Grief fondly bade her hence to hope relief. 
But angry Phoebus hears, unmov'd, her sighs, 395 
And scornful from her loath'd embraces flies. 
All day, all night, in trackless wilds, alone 
She pinM, and taught the list'ning rocks her moan. 
On the bare earth she lies, her bosom bare, 
Loose her attire, dishevell'd is her hair. 400 

Nine times the morn unbarr'd the gates of light, 
As oft were spread th' alternate shades of night ; 
So long no sustenance the mourner knew, 
Unless she drank her tears, or suck'd the dew : 


She turn'd about, but rose not from the ground, 405 
Turn'd to the Sun, still as he roll'd his round : 
On his bright face hung her desiring eyes, 
Till fix'd to earth, she strove in vain to rise. 
Her looks their paleness in a flow'r retain'd, 
But here and there some purple streaks they gain'd. 
Still the lov'd object the fond leafs pursue, 411 

Still move their root, the moving sun to view, 
And in the Heliotrope the nymph is true. 

The sisters heard these wonders with surprise, 
But part receiv'd them as romantic lies ; 415 

And partly rally'd, that they could not see 
In pow'rs divine so vast an energy. 
Part own'd, true gods such miracles might do, 
But own'd not Bacchus one among the true. 
At last a common, just request they make, 420 

And beg Alcithoe her turn to take. 
I will (she said) and please you, if I can, 
Then shot her shuttle swift, and thus began : 

The fate of Daphnis is a fate too known, 
Whom an enamour'd nymph transform 'd to stone, 
Because she fear'd another nymph might see 42<i 
The lovely youth, and love as much as she : 
So strange the madness is of jealousy I 
Nor shall I tell, what changes Scython made, 
And how he walk'd a man, or tripp'd a maid. 430 
You too would peevish frown, and patience want 
To hear how Celmis grew an adamant. 
He once was dear to Jove, and saw of old 
Jove, when a child, but what he saw he told. 
Crocus, and Smilax, may be turn'd to flow'rs, 435 
And the Curetes spring from bounteous show'rs ; 
I pass a hundred legends, stale as these, 
And with sweet novelty your taste will please. 

How Salmacis, with weak enfeebling streams 
Softens the body, and unnerves the limbs, 440 

And what the secret cause, shall here be shewn ; 
The cause is secret, but th' effect is known. 

The Naids nurs'd an infant heretofore, 
That Cytherea once to Hermes bore : 
From both th' illustrious authors of his race 445 

BOOK IV. 89 

The child was nam'd ; nor was it hard to trace 

Both the bright parents through the infant's face. 

When fifteen years, in Ida's cool retreat, 

The boy had told, he left his native seat, 

And sought fresh fountains in a foreign soil : 450 

The pleasure lessen'd the attending toil. 

With eager steps the Lycian fields he cross'd, 

And fields that border on the Lycian coast; 

A river here he view'd so lovely bright, 

It shew'd the bottom in a fairer light, 455 

Nor kept a sand conceal'd from human sight. 

The stream produc'd nor slimy ooze, nor weeds, 

Nor miry rushes, nor the spiky reeds ; 

But dealt enriching moisture all around, 

The fruitful banks with cheerful verdure crown'd, 460 

And kept the spring eternal on the ground. 

A nymph presides, nor practis'd in the chase, 

Nor skilful at the bow, nor at the race ; 

Of all the blue-ey'd daughters of the main, 

The only stranger to Diana's train : 465 

Her sisters often, as 'tis said, would cry, 

Fy, Salmacis, what always idle ! fy ; 

Or taky the quiver, or thy arrows seize, 

And mis. the toils of hunting with thy ease ; 

Nor quivers she nor arrows e'er would seize, 470 

Nor mix the toils of hunting with her ease ; 

But oft would bathe her in the crystal tide, 

Oft with a comb her dewy locks divide : 

Now in the limpid streams she views her face, 

And dress'd her image in the floating glass : 475 

On beds of leaves she now repos'd her limbs ; 

Now gather'd flow'rs that grew about her streams, 

And then by chance was gathering as she stood 

To view the boy, and long'd for what she view'd. 

Fain would she meet the youth with hasty feet, 480 
She fain would meet him, but refus'd to meet. 
Before her locks were set with nicest care, 
And well deserv'd to be reputed fair. 
Bright youth (she cries), whom all thy features prove 
A god, and, if a god, the god of Love ; 484 

But if a mortal, blest thy nurse's breast, 
Blest are thy parents, and thy sisters blest ; 


But oh, how blest! how more than blest thy bride, 
Ally'd in bliss, if any yet ally'd. 
If so, let mine the stol'n enjoyments be : 490 

If not, behold a willing bride in me. 

The boy knew nought of love , and,touch'd with shame , 
He strove and blush'd ; but still the blush became : 
In rising blushes still fresh beauties rose ; 
The sunny side of fruit such blushes shews; 495 

And such the moon, when all her silver white 
Turns, in eclipses, to a ruddy light. 
The nymph still begs, if not a nobler bliss, 
A cold salute at least, a sister's kiss; 
And now prepares to take the lovely boy 500 

Between her arms. He innocently coy, 
Replies : Or leave me to myself alone, 
You rude, uncivil nymph, or I'll begone, 
Fair stranger, then (says she), it shall be so : 
And, for she fear'd his threats, she feign'd to go ; 505 
But hid within a covert's neighb'ring green, 
She kept him still in sight, herself unseen. 
The boy now fancies all the danger o'er, 
And innocently sports at the shore ; 
Playful and wanton, to the stream he trips, 510 

And dips his foot, and shivers as he dips : 
The coolness pleas'd him, and with eager haste, 
His airy garments on the banks he cast ; 
His godlike features, and his heav'nly hue, 
And all his beauties were expos'd to view. 515 

His naked limbs the nymph with rapture spies, 
While hotter passions in her bosom rise, 
Flush in her cheeks, and sparkle in her eyes. 
She longs, she burns to clasp him in her arms, 
And looks, and sighs, and kindles at his charms. 520 

Now all undrest upon the banks he stood, 
And clapt his sides, and leapt into the flood: 
His lovely limbs the silver waves divide, 
His limbs appear more lovely through the tide ; 
As lilies shut within a crystal case, 525 

Receive a glossy lustre from the glass. — 
He's mine, he's all my own (the Is'a'id cries), 
And flings off all, and after him she flies : — 
And now she fastens on him as he swims, 
And holds him close, and wraps about his limbs. 530 

BOOK IV. 91 

The more the boy resisted, and was coy, 

The more she clasp'd and kiss'd the straggling boy. 

So when the wriggling snake is snatch'd on high 

In eagle's claws, and hisses in the sky ; 

Around the foe his twirling tail he flings, 535 

A.nd twists her legs, and writhes about her wings. 

The restless boy still obstinately strove 
To free himself, and still refused her love. 
Amidst his limbs she kept her limbs entwin'd: 
And why r coy youth (she cries), why thus unkind ? 
O, may the gods thus keep us ever join'd ! 541 

O may we never, never part again ! 

So pray'd the nymph, nor did she pray in vain : 
For now now she finds him, as his limbs she press'd . 
Grow nearer still, and nearer to her breast ; 545 

Till, piercing each the other's flesh they run 
Together and incorporate in one : 
Last, in one face are both their faces join'd, 
As when the stock and grafted twig, combin'd, 
Shoot up the same, and wear a common rind: 550 
Both bodies in a single body mix, 
A single body with a double sex. 

The boy, thus lost in woman, now survey'd 
The river's guilty stream, and thus he pray'd 
(He pray'd, but wonder'd at his softer tone, 555 

Surpris'd to hear a voice but half his own) : — 
You parent-gods, whose heav'nly names I bear, 
Hear your Hermaprodite, and grant my pray'r ; 
O grant, that whomsoe'er these streams contain, 
If man he enter'd, he may rise again 560 

Supple, unsinew'd, and but half a man ! 

The heav'nly parents answer 'd, from on high, 
Their two-shap'd son, the double votary; 
Then gave a secret virtue to the flood, 
And ting'd its source to make his wishes good. 565 

But Mineus' daughter still their tasks pursue, 
To wickedness most obstinately true : 
At Bacchus still they laugh; — when, all around, 
Unseen, the timbrels hoarse were heard to sound : 
Saffron, and myrrh, their fragrant odours shed, 570 


And now the present deity they dread. 
Strange to relate ! here ivy first was seen, 
Along the distaff crept the wondrous green : 
Then sudden-springing vines began to bloom, 
And the soft tendrils curl'd around the loom : 575 
While purple clusters, dangling from on high, 
Ting'd the wrought purple with a second die. 
Now from the skies was shot a doubtful light, 
The day declining to the bounds of night. 
The fabric's firm foundations shake all o'er, 580 

False tigers rage, and figur'd lions roar : 
Torches, aloft, seen blazing in the air, 
And angry flashes of red lightnings glare. 
To dark recesses, the dire sight to shun, 
Swift the pale sisters in confusion run : 585 

Their arms were lost in pinions, as they fled, 
And subtle films each slender limb o'erspread: 
Their alter'd forms their senses soon reveal'd; 
Their forms, how alter'd, darkness still conceal'd. 
Close to the roof each, wond'ring, upwards springs, 
Borne on unknown, transparent, plumeless wings. 591 
They strove for words ; their little bodies found 
No words, but murmur'd in a fainting sound. 
In towns, not woods, the sooty bats delight, 
And never, till the dusk, begin their flight ; 595 

Till Vesper rises with his ev'ning flame; 
From whom the Romans have deriv'd their name. 

The pow'r of Bacchus now o'er Thebes had flown, 
With awful rev'rence soon the god they own. 
Proud Ino, all around, the wonder tells, 600 

And on her nephew deity still dwells. 
Of num'rous sisters, she alone yet knew 
No grief, but grief which she from sisters drew. 

Imperial Juno saw her, with disdain, 
Vain in her offspring; in her consort vain, 605 

Who rul'd the trembling Thebans with a nod ; 
But saw her vainest in her foster god. — 
Could, then (she cry'd), a bastard boy have pow'r 
To make a mother her own son devour? 
Could he the Tuscan crew to fishes change, 610 

And now three sisters damn to forms so strange ? 

BOOK tV. 03 

Yet, shall the wife of Jove find no relief? 
Shall she, still unreveng'd, disclose her grief t 
Have I the mighty freedom to complain? 
Is that my pow'r ? is that tu ease my pain ? CIS 

A foe ha8 taught me vengeance ; and who ought 
To scorn that vengeance, which a foe has taught ? 
What sure destruction frantic rage can throw, 
The gaping wounds of slaughter'd Pentheus shew. 
Why should not Ino, fir'd with madness stray ? 620 
like her mad sisters, her own kindred slay ? 
Why she not follow where they lead the way ? 

Down a steep yawning cave, where yews display'd 
In arches meet, and lend a baleful shade, 
Through silent labyrinths a passage lies 625 

To mournful regions and infernal skies: 
Here Styx, exhales its noisome clouds : and here, 
The fun'ral rites once paid, all souls appear. 
Stiff cold, and horror with a ghastly face 
And staring eyes, infest the dreary place. 630 

Ghosts, new arriv'd, and strangers to these plains, 
Know not the palace where grim Pluto reigns. 
They journey doubtful, nor the road can tell, 
Which leads to the metropolis of hell. 
A thousand avenues those tow'rs command, 035 

A thousand gates for ever open stand. 
As all the rivers, disembogu'd, find room 
For all their waters in old Ocean's womb: 
So this vast city worlds of shades receives, 
And space for millions still of worlds she leaves. 640 
Th' unbodyM spectres freely rove, and shew, 
Whate'er they lov'd on earth, they love below. 
The lawyers, still, or right, or wrong, support, 
The courtiers smoothly glide to Pluto's court. 
Still airy heroes thoughts of glory fire ; 645 

Still the dead poet strings his deathless lyre; 
And lovers still, with fancy'd darts, expire. 

The queen of heav'n, to gratify her hate, 
And soothe immortal wrath, forgets her state. 
Down from the realms of day, to realms of night, 650 
The goddess swift precipitates her flight. 
At hell arriv'd, the noise hell's porter heard, 


Th' enormous dog his triple head uprear'd : 

Thrice from three grisly throats he howl'd profound, 

Then suppliant couch'd, and stretch'd along the 

ground. 655 

The trembling threshold which Saturnia press'd, 
The weight of such divinity confess'd. 

Before a lofty, adamantine gate, 
Which clos'd a tow'r of brass, the Furies sat; 
Mis-shapen forms, tremendous to the sight, 660 

Th' implacable, foul daughters of the Night. 
A sounding whip each bloody sister shakes, 
Or from her tresses combs the curling snakes. 
But now, great Juno's majesty was known, 
Thro' the thick gloom, all-heav'nly bright, she shone : 
The hideous monsters their obedience shew'd, 666 
And, rising from their seats, submissive bow'd. 

This is the place of woe; here groan the dead ; 
Huge Tityus o'er nine acres here is spread : 
Fruitful for pain, th' immortal liver bleeds, 670 

Still grows, and still th' insatiate vulture feeds. 
Poor Tantalus to taste the water tries, 
But from his lips the faithless water flies : 
Then thinks the bending tree he can command, 
The tree starts backwards, and eludes his hand. 675 
The labour too of Sisyphus is vain ; 
Up the steep mount he heaves the stone with pain , 
Down from the summit rolls the stone again. 
The Belides their leaky vessels still 
Are ever filling, and yet never fill : 6tw 

Doom'd to this punishment for blood they shed, 
For bridegrooms slaughter'd in the bridal bed. 
Stretched on the rolling wheel Ixion lies; 
Himself he follows, and himself he flies. 
Ixion, tortur'd, Juno sternly ey'd, 085 

Then turn'd, and toiling Sisyphus espy'd : — 
And why (she said) so wretched is the fate 
Of him, whose brother proudly reigns in state? 
Yet still my altars unador'd have been 
By Athamas, and his presumptuous queen. 690 

What caus'd her hate, the goddess thus confess'd, 
What caus'd her journey, now was more than guew»'d. 
That hate, relentless, its revenge did want, 

BOOK IV. 95 

And that revenge the Furies soon could grant : 

They could the glory of proud Thebes efface, 695 

And hide, in nun, the Cadmean race. 

For this she largely promises, intreats, 

And to intreaties adds imperial threats. 

Then fell Tisiphone with rage was stung, 

And from her mouth th' untwisted serpents flung. 700 

To gain this trifling boon, there is no need 
(She cry'd) in formal speeches to proceed. 
Whatever thou command'st to do, is done ; 
Believe it finish'd, though not yet begun. 
But from these melancholy seats repair 705 

To happier mansions, and to purer air. 

She spoke: The goddess, darting upwards, flies, 
And joyous re-ascends her native skies : 
Nor enter'd there, till 'round her Iris threw 
Ambrosial sweets, and pour'd celestial dew. 710 

The faithful fury, guiltless of delays, 
With cruel haste the dire command obeys. 

Girt in a bloody gown, a torch she shakes, 
And 'round her neck twines speckled wreaths of snakes; 
Fear, and dismay, and agonizing pain, 715 

With frantic rage, complete the loveless train. 
To Thebes her flight she sped, and hell forsook : 
At her approach the Theban turrets shook ; 
The sun shrunk back, thick clouds the day o'ercast, 
And springing greens were wither'd, as she pass'd. 720 

Now, dismal yellings heard, strange spectres seen, 
Confound as much the monarch as the queen. 
In vain to quit the palace they prepar'd ; 
Tisiphone was there, and kept the ward. 
She wide-extended her unfriendly arms, 725 

And all the fury lavish'd all her harms. 
Part of her tresses loudly hiss, and part 
Spread poison, as their forky tongues they dart. 
Then from her middle locks two snakes she drew, 
Whose merit from superior mischief grew : 730 

Th' envenom'd ruin, thrown with spiteful care, 
Clung to the bosoms of the hapless pair: 
The hapless pair soon with wild thoughts were fir'd, 
And madness, by a thousand ways inspir'd. 
'Ti» true, th' nnwounded body still was sound, 73§ 


But 'twas the soul which felt the deadly wound. 

Nor did th' unsated monster here give o'er, 

But dealt of plagues a fresh, unnumber'd store : 

Each baneful juice too well she understood : 

Foam, churn'd by Cerberus, and Hydra's blood. 740 

Hot hemlock, and cold aconite she chose, 

Delighted in variety of woes. 

Whatever can untune th' harmonious soul, 

And its mild, reas'ning faculties control ; 

Give false ideas, raise desires profane, 745 

And whirl in eddies the tumultuous brain ; 

Mix'd with curs'd art, she direfully around 

Through all their nerves diffus'd the sad compound : 

Then toss'd her torch in circles still the same, 

Improv'd their rage, and added flame to flame. 750 

The grinning Fury her own conquest spy'd, 

And to her rueful shades return'd with pride, 

And threw th' exhausted, useless snakes aside. 

Now Athamas cried out (his reason fled), 
Here, fellow-hunters, let the toils be spread. 755 

I saw a lioness, in quest of food, 
With her two young, run roaring in this wood. 

Again the fancy'd savages were seen, 
As through his palace still he chas'd his queen; 
Then tore Learchus from her breast : The child 760 
Stretch'd little arms, and on its father smil'd : 
A father now no more, who now begun 
Around his head to whirl his giddy son, 
And, quite insensible to nature's call, 
The helpless infant flung against the wall. 765 

The same mad poison in the mother wrought, 
Young Melicerta in her arms she caught, 
And with disorder'd tresses, howling, flies, 
O ! Bacchus, Evo'e, Bacchus ! loud she cries. 
The name of Bacchus, Juno laugh'd to hear, 770 

And said, Thy foster-god has cost thee dear. 

A rock there stood, whose side the beating waves 
Had long consurn'd, and hollow'd into caves : 
The head shot forwards in a bending steep, 
And cast a dreadful covert o'er the deep. 775 

The wretched Ino on destruction bent, 
Climb'd up the cliff; such strength her fury lent : 

BOOK IV. 97 

Thence with her guiltless hoy, who wept in vain, 
At one bold spring she plung'd into the main. 

Her niece's fate touch'd Cytherea's breast, 780 

And in soft sounds she Neptune thus address'd : 
Great god of waters, whose extended sway 
Is next to his, whom heav'n and earth obey : 
Let not the suit of Venus thee displease, 
Pity the floaters on th' Ionian seas. 785 

Increase thy subject gods, nor yet disdain 
To add my kindred to that glorious train. 
If from the sea I may such honours claim, 
If 'tis desert, that from the sea I came, 
As Grecian poets artfully have sung, 790 

And in the name confest, from whence I sprung. 

Pleas'd Neptune nodded his assent; and free 
Both soon became from frail mortality. 
He gave them form, and majesty divine, 
And bade them glide along the foamy brine. 795 

For Melicerta, is Palaemon known ; 
And Ino once, Leucothbe is grown. 

The Theban matrons their lov'd queen pursu'd, 
And, tracing to the rock, her footsteps view'd. 
Too »ertain of her fate, they rend the skies 800 

With piteous shrieks, and lamentable cries. 
All beat their breasts, and Juno all upbraid, 
Who still remember'd a deluded maid : 
Who, still revengeful for one stol'n embrace, 
Thus wreak'd her hate on the Cadmean race. 805 

This Juno heard ; — And shall such elfs (she cry'd) 
Dispute my justice, or my pow'r deride? 
You too shall feel my wrath, not idly spent; 
A goddess never for insults was meant. 809 

She, who lov'd most, and who most lov'd had been, 
Said, Not the waves shall part me from my queen. 
She strove to plunge into the roaring flood ; 
Fix'd to the stone, a stone herself she stood. 
This, on her breast would fain her blows repeat ; 
Her stiffen'd hands refus'd her breast to beat: 815 
That, stretch'd her arms unto the seas ; in vain 
Her arms she labour'd to unstretch again. 
To tear her comely locks another try'd ; 


Both comely locks and fingers petrify'd. 
Part thus : but Juno, -with a softer mind, 820 

Part doom'd to mix among the feather'd kind. 
Transform'd, the name of Theban birds they keep, 
And skim the surface of that fatal deep. 

Meantime, the wretched Cadmus mourns, nor knows 
That they who mortal fell, immortal rose. 825 

With a long series of new ills opprest, 
He droops, and all the man forsakes his breast. 
Strange prodigies confound his frighted eyes ; 
From the fair city, which he rais'd, he flies : 
As if misfortune not pursu'd his race, 830 

But only hung o'er that devoted place. 
Resolv'd by sea to seek some distant land, 
At last he safely gain'd th' Illyrian strand. 
Cheerless himself, his consort still he cheers, 
Hoary, and loaded both with woes and years. 835 
Then to recount past sorrows they begin, 
And trace them to the gloomy origin . 

That serpent sure was hall ow'd (Cadmus cry'd) 
Which once my spear transfix'd with foolish pride ; 
When the big teeth, a seed before unknown, 840 

By me along the wond'ring glebe were sown, 
And sprouting armies by themselves o'erthrown. 
If thence the wrath of Heav'n on me is bent, 
May Heav'n conclude it with one sad event ; 
To an extended serpent change the man ; — 845 

And, while he spoke, the wish'd-for change began. 
His skin with sea-green spots was vary'd round, 
And on his belly prone he press'd the ground : 
He glitter'd soon with many a golden scale, 
And his shrunk legs clos'd in a spiry tail ; 850 

Arms yet remain'd, remaining arms he spread 
To his lov'd wife, and human tears yet shed. 

Come, my Harmonia, come, thy face recline 
Down to my face; still touch, what still is mine. 
O, let these hands, while hands, be gently prest, 855 
While yet the serpent has not all possest ! 
More he had spoke, but strove to speak, in vain. 
The forky toogue refus'd to tell bis pain, 
And learn'd in hissings only to complain. 859 

BOOK IV. 99 

Then shriek'd Harmonia, Stay, my Cadmus, stay ! 
Glide not in such a monstrous shape away ! 
Destruction, like impetuous waves, rolls on ; 
Where are thy feet, thy legs, thy shoulders gone ? 
Ghang'd is thy visage, chang'd is all thy frame ; 
Cadmus is only Cadmus now in name. 8C5 

Ye gods, my Cadmus to himself restore, 
Or me like him transform; I ask no more. 

The husband serpent shew'd he still had thought ; 
With wonted fondness an embrace he sought ; 
Play'd round her neck, in many a harmless twist, 
And lick'd that bosom, which, a man, he kiss'd. 871 
The lookers on (for lookers on there were), 
Shock'd at the sight, half-dy'd away with fear. 
The transformation was again renew'd, 
And, like the husband, chang'd the wife they view'd. 

Both, serpents now, with fold involv'd in fold, 876 
To the next covert amicably roll'd : 
There curl'd they lie, or wave along the green; 
Fearless see men, by men are fearless seen, 879 

Still mild, and conscious what they once have been. 

Yet though thi3 harsh, inglorious fate they found, 
Each in the deathless grandson liv'd renown'd : 
Through conquer'd India, Bacchus nobly rode, 
And Greece with temples hail'd the conqu'ring god. 
In Argos only, proud Acrisius reign'd, 885 

Who all the consecrated rites profan'd. 
Audacious wretch! thus Bacchus to deny, 
And the great Thunderer's great son defy ! 
Nor him alone, thy daughter vainly strove, 
Brave Perseus of celestial stem to prove, 890 

And herself pregnant by a golden Jove. 
Yet this was true, and truth in time prevails; 
Acrisius now his unbelief bewails. 
His former thought, an impious thought he found, 
And both the hero and the god were own'd. $95 

He saw, already one in heav'n was plac'd, 
And one with more than mortal triumphs grac'd. 
The victor Perseus, with the Gorgon head, 
O'er Libyan sands hi3 airy journey sped. 
The gory drops distill'd, as swift he flew, 000 


And from each drop envenom'd serpents grew. 
The mischiefs brooded on the barren plains, 
And still th' unhappy fruitfulness remains. 

Thence Perseus, like a cloud, by storms was driv'n. 
Thro' all th' expanse beneath tbe cope of heav'n. 905 
The jarring winds unable to control, 
He saw the southern and the northern pole : 
And eastward thrice*, and westward thrice was 

And from the skies surveyd the nether world. 
But when gray ev'ning shew'd the verge of night, 
He fear'd in darkness to pursue his flight. 911 

He pois'd his pinions, and forgot to soar, 
And sinking, clos'd them on th' Hesperian shore : 
Then begg'd to rest, till Lucifer begun 
To wake the morn, the morn to wake the sun. 915 

Here Atlas reign'd of more than human size, 
And in his kingdom the world's limit lies. 
Here Titan bids his wearied coursers sleep, 
And cools the burning axle in the deep. 
The mighty monarch, uncontroll'd, alone, 920 

His sceptre sways ; no neigh b'ring states are known. 
A thousand flocks on shady mountains fed, 
A. thousand herds o'er grassy plains were spread. 
Here wondrous trees their shining stores unfold, 
Their shining stores too wondrous to be told; 925 

Their leaves, their branches, and their apples, gold. 

Then Perseus the gigantic prince address'd, 
Humbly implor'd a hospitable rest : — 
If bold exploits thy admiration fire 
(He said), I fancy, mine thou wilt admire : 930 

Or if the glory of a race can move, 
Not mean my glory, for I spring from Jove. 

At this confession Atlas ghastly star'd, 
Mindful of what an oracle declar'd, 
That the dark womb of time conceal'd a day, 935 

Which should, disclos'd, the gloomy gold betray : 
All should at once be ravish'd from his eyes, 
And Jove's own progeny enjoy the prize. 

For this, the fruit he loftily immur'd, 
And a fierce dragon the strait pass secur'd ; 940 

BOOK IV. 101 

For this, all strangers he forbade to land, 
And drove them from th' inhospitable strand. 

To Perseus then : Fly quickly, fly this coast, 
Nor falsely dare thy acts and race to boast. 

In vain the hero for one night entreats ; 945 

Threat'ning he storms, and next adds force to threats. 

By strength not Perseus could himself defend, 
For who in strength with Atlas could contend 1 — 
But since short rest to me thou wilt not give, 
A gift of endless rest from me receive. — 950 

He said, and backward turn'd, no more conceal'd 
The present, and Medusa's head reveal'd. 

Soon the high Atlas a high mountain stood : 
His locks, and beard, became a leafy wood : 
His hands and shoulders into ridges went, 955 

The summit-head still crown'd the steep ascent : 
His bones a solid, rocky hardness gain'd : 
He thus immensely grown (as fate ordain'd), 
The stars, the heav'ns, and all the gods sustain'd. 

Now jEoIus had with strong chains confin'd 960 
And deep imprison'd every blust'ring wind ; 
The rising Phosphor, with a purple light, 
Did sluggish mortals to new toils invite; 
His feet again the valiant Perseus plumes, 
And his keen sabre in his hand resumes ; 905 

Then nobly spurns the ground, and upwards springs, 
And cuts the liquid air with sounding wings. 
O'er various seas, and various lands he pass'd, 
Till ./Ethiopia's shore appear'd at last. 

Andromeda was there, doom'd to atone, 970 

By her own nun, follies not her own : 
And if injustice in a god can be, 
Such was the Libyan god's unjust decree. 
Chain *d to a rock she stood; young Perseus stay'd 
His rapid flight, to view the beauteous maid. 975 

So sweet her fame, so exquisitely fine, 
She seem'd a statue by a hand divine, 
Had not the wind her waving tresses shew'd, 
And down her cheeks the melting sorrows flow'd. 

Her faultless form the hero's bosom fires ; 980 

The more he looks, the more he still admires. 


Th' admirer almost had forgot to fly, 

And swift descended, flutt'ring from on high. — 

O virgin, worthy no such chains to prove, 

But pleasing chains in the soft folds of love ; 985 

Thy country, and thy name (he said) disclose, 

And give a true rehearsal of thy woes. 

A quick reply her bashfulness reftis'd, 
To the free-converse of a man unus'd : 
Her rising blushes had concealment found 990 

From her spread hands, but that her hands, were 
She acted to her full extent of pow'r, [bound. 

And bath'd her face with a fresh, silent show'r. 
But by degrees in innocence grown bold, 
Her name, her country, and her birth she told: 995 
And how she suffer'd for her mother's pride, 
Who with the Nereids once in beauty vy'd. 

Part yet untold, the seas began to roar, 
And mounting billows tumbled to the shore : 
Above the waves a monster rais'd his head, 1000 

His body o'er the deep was widely spread : 
Onward he flounc'd ; aloud the virgin cries ; 
Each parent to her shrieks in shrieks replies ; 
But she had deepest cause to rend the skies. 
Weeping, to her they cling; no sign appears 1005 

Of help, they only lend their helpless tears*. 

Too long you vent your sorrows ( Perseus said) ; 
Short is the hour, and swift the time of aid. 
In me, the son of thund'ring Jove behold, 
Got in a kindly shower of fruitful gold. 1010 

Medusa's snaky head is now my prey, 
And through the clouds I boldly wing my way. 
If such desert be worthy of esteem, 
And, if your daughter I from death redeem, 
Shall she be mine? shall it not then he thought, 1015 
A bride, so lovely, was too cheaply bought? 
For her, my arms I willingly employ, 
If I may beauties, which I save, enjoy. 

The parents eagerly the terms embrace, 
(For who would slight such terms in such a case ?) 
Nor her alone they promise, but beside, 1021 

The dowry of a kingdom with the bride. 

As well-rigg'd galleys, which slaves, sweating, row, 

BOOK IV. 103 

With their sharp beaks the whiten'd ocean plow : 

So when the monster mov'd, still at his back 1025 

The furrow'd waters left a foamy track. 

Now to the rock he was advanc'd so nigh, 

Whirl'd from a sling a stone the space would fly. 

Then bounding, upwards the brave Perseus sprung, 

And in mid air on hov'ring pinions hung. 1030 

His shadow quickly floated on the main, 

The monster could not his wild rage restrain, 

But at the floating shadow leap'd in vain. 

As when Jove's bird, a speckled serpent spies, 

Which in the shine of Phosbus basking lies, 1035 

Unseen, he souses down, and bears away, 

Truss'd from behind, the vainly hissing prey. 

To writhe his neck the labour nought avails, 

Too deep th' imperial talons pierce his scales. 

Thus the wing'd hero now descends, now soars, 1040 

And at his pleasure, the vast monster gores. 

Full in his back, swift stooping from above, 

The crooked sabre to its hilt he drove. 

The monster rag'd impatient of the pain, 

First bounded high, and then sunk low again. 1045 

Now, like a savage boar, when chaf'd with wounds, 

And bay'd with op'ning mouths of hungry hounds, 

He on the foe turns with collected might, 

Who still eludes him with an airy flight ; 

And wheeling round, the scaly armour tries 1050 

Of his thick sides: his thinner tail now plies : 

Till, from repeated strokes, out gush'd a flood, 

And the waves redden'd with the streaming blood. 

At last, the dropping wings, befoam'd all o'er, 

With flaggy heaviness their master bore : 1055 

A rock he spy'd, whose humble head was low, 

Bare at an ebb, but cover'd at a flow. 

A ridgy hold, he, thither flying, gain'd, 

And, with one hand, his bending weight sustain'd ; 

With th' other, vig'rous blows he dealt around, 1060 

And the home-thrusts th' expiring monster own'd. 

In deaf'ning shouts the glad applauses rise, 

And peal on peal runs rattling through the skies, 

The saviour youth the royal pair confess, [bless. 1065 

And, with heav'd. hands, their daughter's bridegroom 


The beauteous bride moves on, now loos'd from chains.. 
The cause, and sweet reward of all the hero's pains, 

Meantime, on shore triumphant Perseus stood, 
And purg'd his hands, smear'd with the monster's 

blood : 
Then in the windings of a sandy bed 1070 

Compos'd Medusa's execrable head. 
But, to prevent the roughness, leaves he threw, 
And young, green twigs, which soft in waters grew : 
There soft, and full of sap; but here, when laid, 
Touch'd by the head, that softness soon decay'd. 1075 
The wonted flexibility quite gone, 
The tender scions ha'rden'd into stone. 
Fresh, juicy twigs, surpris'd, the Nereids brought, 
Fresh, juicy twigs the same contagion caught. 
The nymphs the petrifying seeds still keep, 1080 

And propagate the wonder through the deep. 
The pliant sprays of coral yet declare 
Tbeir stiff'ning nature, when expos'd to air. 
Those sprays, which did, like bending osiers, move, 
Snatch'd from their element, obdurate prove, 1085 
And shrubs beneath the waves, grow stones above. 

The great Immortals grateful Perseus prais'd, 
And to three pow'rs three turfy altars rais'd. 
To Hermes this, and that he did assign 
To Pallas ; the mid honours, Jove, were thine. 1090 
He hastes for Pallas a white cow to cull, 
A calf for Hermes, but for Jove a bull. 
Then seiz'd the prize of his victorious fight, 
Andromeda, and claim'd the nuptial rite: 
Andromeda alone he gTeatly sought, 1095 

The dowry kingdom was not worth his thought. 

Pleas'd Hymen now his golden torch displays ; 
With rich oblations fragrant altars blaze. 
Sweet wreaths of choicest flow'rs are hung on high, 
And cloudless pleasure smiles in ev'ry eye. 1100 

The melting music melting thoughts inspires, 
And warbling songsters aid the warbling lyres. 
The palace opens wide in pompous state, 
And, by his peers surrounded, Cepheus sate. 
A feast was serv'd, fit for a king to give, 1105 

And fit for godlike heroes to receive. 

BOOK IV. 105 

The banquet ended, the gay, cheerful howl 
Mov'd round, and brighten'd, and enlarg'd each soul. 
Then Perseus ask'd, what customs there obtain'd, 
And by what laws the people were restrain'd. 1110 
Which told; the teller a like freedom takes, 
And to the warrior his petition makes, 
To know, what arts had won Medusa's snakes. 

The hero with his just request complies; 
Shews, how a vale beneath cold Atlas lies, l lis 

Where, with aspiring mountains, fenc'd around, 
He the two daughters of old Phorcus found. 
Fate had one common eye to both assign'd, 
Each saw by turns, and each by turns was blind. 
But while one strove to lend her sister sight, 1120 
He stretch'd his hand, and stole their mutual light, 
And left both eyeless, both involv'd in night. 
Through devious wilds and trackless woods he pass'd, 
And at the Gorgon seats arriv'd at last : 
But as he journey'd, pensive he survey'd 1125 

What wasteful havoc dire Medusa made. 
Here, stood still breathing statues, men before ; 
There, rampant lions seem'd in stone to roar. 
Nor did he yet, affrighted, quit the field, 
But in the mirror of his polish'd shield 1130 

Reflected saw Medusa slumbers take, 
And not one serpent by good chance awake. 
Then backward an unerring blow he sped, 
And from her body lopp'd at once her head. 
The gore prolific prov'd; with sudden force 1135 

Sprung Pegasus, and wing'd his airy course. 

The heav'n-bprn warrior faithfully went on, 
And told the num'rous dangers which he run. 
What subject seas, what lands he had in view, 
And nigh what stars th' advent'rous hero flew. 1140 
At last he silent sat; the list'ning throng 
Sigh'd at the pause of his delightful tongue. 
Some begg'd to know, why this alone should wear, 
Of all the sisters, such destructive hair. 

Great Perseus then : With me you shall prevail, 
Worth the relation, to relate a tale. 114C 

Medusa once had charms : to gain her love 
A rival crowd of envious lovers strove. 
V 2 


They, who have seen her, own they ne'er did trace 

More moving features in a sweeter face: 1150 

Yet above all, her length of hair, they own, 

In golden ringlets wav'd, and graceful shone. 

Her, Neptune saw, and with such beauties fir'd, 

Resolv'd to compass what his soul desir'd. 

In chaste Minerva's fane, he, lustful, staid, 1155 

And seiz'd, and rifled the young, blushing maid, 

The bashful goddess turn'd her eyes away, 

Nor durst such bold impurity survey ; 

But on the ravish'd virgin vengeance takes, 

Her shining hair is chang'd to hissing snakes. 1160 

These in her iEgis, Pallas joys to bear, 

The hissing snakes her foes more sure ensnare, 

Than they did lovers once, when shining bair. 



The story of Perseus, continued. Minerva's Interview with the 
Muses. The fate of Pyreneus. The story of the Pierides. The 
song of the Pierides. The song of the" Muses. The rape of 
Proserpine. Cyan6 dissolves to a fountain. A boy transformed 
to an Eft. The transformation of Ascalaphus intoan owl. The 
daughters of Achelous transformed to Sirens. The story of 
Arethusa. The transformation of Lyncus. The Pierid6s trans- 
formed to magpies. 

While Perseus entertain'd, with this report, 

His father Cepheus, and the list'ning court ; 

Within the palace walls was heard aloud 

The roaring noise of some unruly crowd; 

Not like the songs which cheerful friends prepare 5 

For nuptial days, but sounds that threaten'd war ; 

And all the pleasures of this happy feast, 

To tumult turn'd, in wild disorder ceas'd: 

So, when the sea is calm, we often find 

A storm rais'd sudden by some furious wind. 10 

Chief in the riot Phineus first appear'd, 
The rash ringleader of this boist'rous herd ; 
And, brandishing his brazen-pointed lance, 
Behold (he said), an injur'd man advance, 
Stung with resentment for his ravish'd wife, 15 

BOOK V. 107 

Nor shall thy wings, O Perseus, save thy life; 
Nor Jove himself; though we've been often told, 
Who got thee in the form ef tempting gold. 

His lance was aim'd, when Cepheus ran, and said : 
Hold, brother, hold; what brutal rage has made 20 
Your frantic mind so black a crime conceive? 
Are these the thanks that you to Perseus give? 
This the reward that to his worth you pay, 
Whose timely valour sav'd Andromeda? 
Nor was it he, if you would reason right, 25 

Thatforc'd her from you, but the jealous spite 
Of envious Nereids, and Jove's high decree; 
And that devouring monster of the sea, 
That ready with his jaws wide gaping stood 
To eat my child, the fairest of my blood. 30 

You lost her then, when she seem'd past relief, 
And wish'd, perhaps, her death, to ease your grief 
With my afflictions : not content to view 
Andromeda in chains, unhelp'd by you, 
Her spouse and uncle ; will you grieve that he 35 

Expos'd his life, the dying maid to free ? 
And shall you claim his merit? Had you thought 
Her charms so great, you should have bravely sought 
That blessing on the rocks, where fix.'d she lay: 
But now let Perseus bear his prize away, 40 

By service gain'd, by promis'd faith possess'd ; 
To him I owe it, that my age is bless'd 
Still with a child : nor think that I prefer 
Perseus to thee, but to the loss of her. 

Phineus on him and Perseus roll'd about 45 

His eyes in silent rage, and seem'd to doubt 
Which to destroy; till, resolute at length, 
He threw his spear with the redoubled strength 
His fury gave him, and at Perseus struck ; 
But missing Perseus, in his seat it stuck ; 50 

Who, springing nimbly up, return'd the dart, 
And almost plung'd it in his rival's heart ; 
But he, for safety, to the altar ran, 
Unfit protection for so vile a man ; 
Yet was the stroke not vain, as Rhastus found, 55 
Who, in his brow, receiv'd a mortal wound ; 
Headlong he tumbled, when his skull was broke, 


From which his friends the fatal weapon took, 
While he lay trembling, and his gushing blood, 
Tn crimson streams, around the table flow'd. 60 

But this provok'd th' unruly rabble worse, 
They flung their darts, and some in loud discourse, 
To death young Perseus, and the monarch, doom : 
But Cepheus left before the guilty room, 
With grief appealing to the gods above, 65 

Who laws of hospitality approve, 
Who faith protect, and succour injur'd right, 
That he was guiltless of this barb'rous fight. 

Pallas, her brother Perseus close attends, 
And, with her ample shield, from harm defends, 70 
Raising a sprightly courage in his heart : 
But Indian Athis took the weaker part, 
Born in the crystal grottoes of the sea, 
Limnate's son, a fenny nymph, and she 
Daughter of Ganges: graceful was his mien, 75 

His person lovely, and his age sixteen. 
His habit made his native beauty more ; 
A purple mantle, fring'd with gold, he wore ; 
His neck, well turn'd, with golden chains was grac'd ; 
His hair, with myrrh perfum'd, was nicely dress'd. 80 
Though with just aim he could the jav'lin throw, 
Yet with more skill he drew the bending bow ; 
And now was drawing it with artful hand, 
When Perseus snatching up a flaming brand, 
WhirPd sudden at his face the burning wood, 85 

Crush'd his eyes in, and quench'd the fire with blood ; 
Through the soft skin the splinter'd bones appear, 
And spoil'd the face that lately was so fair. 

When Lycabas his Athis thus beheld, 
How was his heart with friendly horror fill'd ! 90 

A youth so noble, to his soul so dear, 
To see his shapeless looks, his dying groans to hear : 
He snatch'd the bow the boy was us'd to bend, 
And cry'd: With me, false traitor, dare contend: 
Boast not a conquest o'er a child, but try 95 

Thy strength with me, who all thy pow'rs defy; 
Nor think so mean an act a victory. 

While yet he spoke, he flung the whizzing dart, 
Which pierc'd the plaited robe, but miss'd his heart 

BOOK V. 109 

Perseus, defy'd, uponrhim fiercely press'd, 100 

With sword unsheath'd, and plung'd it in his breast; 

His eyes o'erwhelm'd with night, he stumbling falls, 

And with his latest breath on Athis calls ; 

Pleas'd that so near the lovely youth he lies, 

He sinks his head upon his friend, and dies. 105 

Next, eager Phorbas, old Methion's son, 
Came rushing forward with Amphimedon ; 
When the smooth pavement, slippery made with gore, 
Tripp'd up their feet, and flung them on the floor ; 
The sword of Perseus, who by chance was nigh, 110 
Prevents their rise, and where they fall, they lie : 
Full in bis ribs Amphimedon he smote, 
And then stuck fiery Phorbas in the throat. 
Eurythus lifting up his axe, the blow 
Was thus prevented by his nimble foe; 115 

A golden cup he seizes, high embost, 
And at his head the massy goblet toss'd : 
It hits, and from his forehead bruis'd rebounds, 
And blood and brains he vomits from his wounds ; 
With his slain fellows on the floor he lies, 120 

And death for ever shuts his swimming eyes. 
Then Polydaemon fell, a goddess born ; 
Phlegias, and Elycen, with locks unshorn, 
Next follow' d ; next, the stroke of death he gave 
To Clytus, Abanis, and Lycetus brave; 125 

While o'er unnumber'd heaps of ghastly dead, 
The Argive hero's feet triumphant tread. 

But Phineus stands aloof, and dreads to feel 
His rival's force, and flies his pointed steel ; 
Yet threw a dart from far: by chance it lights 130 
On Idas, who for neither party fights ; 
But wounded, sternly thus to Phineus said: 
Since of a neuter thou a foe hast made, 
This I return thee : drawing from his side 
The dart; which, as he strove to fling, he dy'd. 135 
Odites fell by Clymenus's sword, 
The Cephen court had not a greater lord. 
Hypseus his blade does in Protenor sheath, 
But brave Lyncides soon reveng'd his death. 
Here too was old Emathion, one that fear'd 140 

The gods, and in the cause of heav'n appear'd ; 


Who only wishing the success of right, 
And, by his age, exempted from the fight, 
Both sides alike condemns ; This impious war, 
Cease, cease (he cries), these bloody broils forbear. 145 

This, scarce the sage, with high concern, had said, 
When Chromis, at a blow, struck off his head; 
Which dropping, on the royal altar roll'd, 
Still staring on the crowd with aspect bold; 
And still it seem'd their horrid strife to blame, 150 
In life and death, his pious zeal the same ; 
While, clinging to the horns, the trunk expires, 
The sever'd head consumes amidst the fires. 

Then Phineus, who from far his jav'lin threw, 
Broteas and Ammon, twins and brothers, slew ; 155 
For knotted gauntlets matchless in the field ; 
But gauntlets must to swords and jav'lins yield. 
Ampycus next, with hallow'd fillets bound, 
As Ceres' priest, and with a mitre crown'd, 
His spear transfix'd, and struck him to the ground. 

O, Tapetides, with pain I tell 161 

How you, sweet lyrist, in the riot fell: 
What worse than brutal rage his breast could fill, 
Who did thy blood, O bard celestial spill? 
Kindly you press'd amid the princely throng, 165 
To crown the feast, and give the nuptial song; 
Discord abhorr'd the music of thy lyre, 
Whose notes did gentle peace so well inspire ; 
Thee, when fierce Pettalus far off espy'd, 
Defenceless with thy harp, he scoffing cry'd: 170 

Go ; to the ghosts thy soothing lessons play ; 
We loathe thy lyre, and scorn thy peaceful lay: 
And, as again he fiercely bade him go, 
He pierc'd his temples with a mortal blow. 
His harp he held, though sinking on the ground, 175 
Whose strings in death his trembling fingers found 
By chance, and tun'd by chance a dying sound. 

With grief Lycormas saw him fall from far, 
And, wresting from the door a massy bar, 
Full in his poll lays on a load of knocks, 180 

Which stun him, and he falls like a devoted ox. 
Another bar Pelates would have snatch'd, 

BOOK V. Ill 

But Corythus his motions slily watch'd; 

He darts his weapon from a private stand, 

And rivets to the post his veiny hand : 185 

When straight a missive spear transfix'd his side, 

By Abas thrown, and as he hung he dy'd. 

Melaneas on the prince's side was slain ; 
And Dorylas, who own'd a fertile plain, 
Of Nasamonia's fields the wealthy lord, 190 

Whose crouded barns could scarce contain their hoard. 
A whizzing spear obliquely gave a blow, 
Stuck in his groin, and pierc'd the nerves below : 
His foe beheld his eyes convulsive roll, 
His ebbing veins, and his departing soul; 195 

Then taunting said; Of all thy spacious plains, 
This spot thy only property remains. 

He left him thus; but had no sooner left, 
Than Perseus in revenge his nostrils cleft; 199 

From his friend's breast the murd'ring dart he drew, 
And the same weapon at the murd'rer threw ; 
His head in halves the darted javelin cut, 
And on each side the brain came issuing out. 

Fortune his friend, his deaths around he deals, 
And this his lance, and that his faulchion feels: 205 
Now Clytius dies ; and by a diff' rent wound, 
The twin his brother Clanis bites the ground ; 
In his rent jaw the bearded weapon sticks, 
And the steel'd dart does Clytius' thigh transfix : 
With these Mendesian Celadon he slew; 210 

And Astreus next, whose mother was a Jew. 
His sire uncertain : Then by Perseus fell 
_/Ethion, who could things to come foretel ; 
But now he knows not whence the javelin flies i 
That wounds his breast, nor by whose arm he dies. 

The squire to Phineus next his valour try'd, 216 
And fierce Agyrtes stain'd with parricide. 

As these are slain, fresh numbers still appear. 
And wage with Perseus an unequal war; 
To rob him of his right, the maid he won, 220 

By honour, promise, and desert his own. 
With him the father of the beauteous bride, 
The mother and the frighted virgin, side : 
With shrieks and doleful cries they rend the air ; 


Their shrieks confounded with the din of war, 225 
With clashing arms, and groanings of the slain, 
They grieve unpitied, and unheard complain. 
The floor with ruddy streams Bellona stains, 
And Phineus a new war with double rage maintains. 
Perseus begirt, from all around they pour, 230 

Their lances on him, a tempestuous show'r, 
Aim'd all at him : a cloud of darts and spears, 
Or blind his eyes, or whistle round his ears. 
Their numbers to resist, against the wall 
He guards his back secure, and dares them all. 
Here from the left Molpeus renews the fight, 
And bold Ethemon presses on the right : 
As when a hungry tiger near him hears 
Two lowing herds, awhile he both forbears ; 
Nor can his hopes of this or that renounce, 240 

So strong he lusts to prey on both at once : 
Thus Perseus now with that or this, is loath 
To war distinct, but fain would fall on both. 
And first Chaonian Molpeus felt his blow, 
And fled, and never after fac'd his foe ; 245 

Then fierce Ethemon, as he turn'd his back, 
Hurried with fury, aiming at his neck; 
His brandish'd sword against the marble struck, 
With all his might; the brittle weapon broke, 
And in his throat the point rebounding, stuck. 250 
Too slight the wound for life to issue thence, 
And yet too great for battle or defence ; 
His arms extended in this piteous state, 
For mercy he would sue, but sues too late ; 
Perseus has in his bosom plung'd the sword, 255 

And, ere he speaks, the wound prevents the word. 

The crowds increasing and his friends distrest, 
Himself by warring multitudes opprest; 
Since thus unequally you fight, 'tis time 
(He cry'd) to punish your presumptuous crime ; 260 
Beware, my friends : — His friends were soon prepar'd, 
Their sight averting, high the head he rear'd, 
And Gorgon on his foes severely star'd. 

Vain shift! says Thescelus, with aspect bold, 
Thee, and thy bugbear monster 1 behold 265 

With scorn : — He lifts his arm, but ere he threw 

BOOK V. 113 

The dart, the hero to a statue grew. 

In the same posture still the marble stands, 

And holds the warrior's weapons in its hands. 

Aphyx, whom yet this wonder can't alarm, 270 
Heaves at Lyncides' breast his impious arm : 
But, while thus daringly he presses on, 
His weapon and his arm are turn'd to stone. 

Next Nileus ; he who vainly said he ow'd 
His origin to Nile's prolific flood; 275 

Who on his shield seven silver rivers bore, 
His birth to witness by the arms he wore ; 
Full of his seven-fold father, thus express'd 
His boast to Perseus, and his pride confess'd : 
See whence we sprung; Let this thy comfort be 280 
In thy sure death, that thou didst die by me. — 
While yet he spoke, the dying accents hung 
In sounds imperfect on his marble tongue ; 
Though chang'd to stone, his lips he seem'd to stretch, 
And thro' th' insensate rock would force a speech. 285 

This, Eryx saw; but seeing, would not own ; — 
The mischief by yourselves (he cries) is done ; 
'Tis your cold courage turns your hearts to stone ; 
Come, follow me ; fall on the stripling boy, 
Kill him, and you his magic arms destroy. 290 

Then rushing on, his arm to strike he rear'd, 
And marbled o'er his varied frame appear'd. 

These for affronting Pallas were chastis'd, 
And justly met the death they had despis'd: 
But brave Aconteus, Perseus' friend, by chance 295 
Look'd back, and met the Gorgon's fatal glance : 
A statue now become, he ghastly stares, 
And still the foe to mortal combat dares. 
Astyages the living likeness knew, 
On the dead stone with vengeful fury flew ; 300 

But impotent his rage, the jarring blade 
No print upon the solid marble made : 
Again, as with redoubled might he struck, 
Himself astonish'd in the quarry stuck. 

The vulgar deaths 'twere tedious to rehearse, 305 
And fates below the dignity of verse ; 
Their safety in their flight two hundred found, 
Two hundred by Medusa's head were ston'd. 


Fierce Phineus now repents the wrongful fight, 
And views his varied friends, a dreadful sight ; 310 
He knows their faces ; for their help he sues, 
And thinks, not hearing him, that they refuse : 
By name he begs their succour, one by one, 
Then doubts their life, and feels the friendly stone. 
Struck with remorse, and conscious of his pride, 315 
Convict of sin, he turn'd his eyes aside ; 
With suppliant mien to Perseus thus he prays : 
Hence with the head, as far as winds and seas 
Can bear thee: Hence; O quit the Cephen shore, 
And never curse us with Medusa more; 320 

That horrid head, which stiffens into stone 
Those impious men who, daring death, look on. 
I warr'd not with thee out of hate or strife, 
My honest cause was to defend my. wife, 
First pledg'd to me : what crime could I suppose, 325 
To arm my friends, and vindicate my spouse ? 
But vain, too late, I see was our design ; 
Mine was the title, but the merit thine. 
Contending made me guilty, I confess, 
But penitence should make that guilt the less : 330 
'Twas thine to conquer by Minerva's pow'r ; 
Favour'd of Heav'n, thy mercy I implore ; 
For life I sue ; the rest to thee I yield : 
In pity, from my sight remove the shield. 

He suing said ; nor durst revert his eyes 335 

On the grim head : And Perseus thus replies : 
Coward, what is in me to grant I will, 
Nor blood, unworthy of my valour spill : 
Fear not to perish by my vengeful sword, 
For that secure ; 'tis all the fates afford. 340 

Where I now see thee, thou shalt still be seen, 
A lasting monument to please our queen ; 
There still shall thy betroth'd behold her spouse, 
And find his image in her father's house. 

This said; where Phineus turn'd to shun the shield, 
Full in his face the staring head he held; 346 

As here and there he strove to turn aside, 
The wonder wrought, the man was petrify'd : 
All marble was his frame, his humid eyes 
Dropp'd tears which hung upon the stone like ice : 

BOOK V. 115 

In auppliant posture, with uplifted hands, 35 1 

And fearful look, the guilty statue atands. 

Hence Perseus to his native city hies, 
Victorious, and rewarded with his prize. 
Conquest, o'er Prsetus the usurper, won, 355 

He reinstates his grandsire in the throne. 
Praetus, his brother, dispossess'd by might, 
His realm enjoy'd, and still detain'd his right : 
But Perseus pull'd the haughty tyrant down, 
And to the rightful king restor'd the throne. 360 

Weak was th' usurper, as his cause was wrong; 
Where Gorgon's head appears, what arms are strong ? 
When Perseus to his host the monster held, 
They soon were statues, and their king expell'd. 

Thence to Seriphus with the head he sails, 365 

Whose prince his story treats as idle tales : 
Lord of a little isle, he scorns to seem 
Too credulous, but laughs at that, and him. 
Yet did he not so much suspect the truth, 
As out of pride or envy hate the youth. 370 

The Argive prince, at his contempt enrag'd, 
To force his faith by fatal proof engag'd: 
Friends, shut your eyes (he cries); — his shield he 
And to the. king expos'd Medusa's snakes. [takes, 

The monarch felt the pow'r he would not own, 375 
And stood convict of folly in the stone. 

Thus far Minerva was content to rove 
With Perseus, offspring of her father Jove : 
Now hid in clouds, Seriphus she forsook ; 
And to the Theban tow'rs her journey took. 380 

Cythos and Gyaros lying to the right, 
She pass'd unheeded in her eager flight ; 
And choosing first on Helicon to rest, 
The virgin muses in these words address'd : 

Me, the strange tidings of a new-found spring, 385 
Ye learned Sisters, to this mountain bring, 
If all be true that fame's wide rumours tell, 
'Twas Pegasus discover'd first your well ; 
Whose piercing hoof gave the soft earth a blow, 
Which broke the surface, where the waters flow. 390 
I saw that horse by miracle obtain 


Life, from the blood of dire Medusa slain, 
And now, this equal prodigy to view, 
From distant isles to fam'd Bosotia flew. 

The muse Urania said ; Whatever cause 395 

So great a goddess to this mansion draws ; 
Our shades are happy with so bright a guest ; 
You, queen, are welcome, and we Muses blest. 
What fame has publish'd of our spring, is true ; 
Thanks for our spring to Pegasus are due. 400 

Then with becoming courtesy, she led 
The curious stranger to their fountain's head : 
Who long survey'd, with wonder and delight, 
Their sacred water, charming t© the sight ; 
Their ancient groves, dark grotto, shady bow'rs, 405 
And smiling plains adorn'd with various flow'rs. 

O happy Muses ! she with rapture cry'd, 
Who, safe from cares, on this fair hill reside ; 
Blest in your seat, and free yourselves to please 
With joys of study, and with glorious ease ! 410 

Then one replies : O goddess, fit to guide 
Our humble works, and in our choir preside; 
Who sure would wisely to these fields repair, 
To taste our pleasures, and our labours share, 
Were not your virtue, and superior mind 415 

To higher arts, and nobler deeds inclin'd : 
Justly you praise our works, and pleasing seat, 
Which all might envy in this soft retreat, 
Were we secur'd from dangers and from harms ; 
But maids are frighten'd with the least alarms, 420 
And none are safe in this licentious time; 
Still fierce Pyreneus, and his daring crime 
With lashing horror strikes my feeble sight, 
Nor is my mind recover'd from the fright. 

With Thracian arms this bold usurper gain'd 4*25 
Daulis, and Phocis, where he proudly reign'd: 
It happen'd once, as through his lands we went, 
For the bright temple of Parnassus bent, 
He met us there, and in his artful mind 
Hiding the faithless action he design'd, 430 

Conferr'd on us (whom, oh ! too well he knew) 
All honours that to goddesses are due. 

BOOK V. 117 

Stop, stop, ye Muses, 'tis your friend who calls 
(The tyrant said) ; behold the rain that falls 
On ev'ry side, and that ill-boding sky, 435 

Whose low'ring face portends more storms are nigh. 
Pray make my house your own, and void of fear, 
While this bad weather lasts, take shelter here : 
Gods have made meaner places their resort, 
And, for a cottage, left their shining court. 440 

Oblig'd to stop, by the united force 
Of pouring rains, and complaisant discourse, 
His courteous invitation we obey, 
And in his hall resolve awhile to stay. 

Soon it clear'd up ; the clouds began to fly, 445 

The driving north refin'd the show'ry sky ; 
Then to pursue our journey we began; 
But the false traitor to his portal ran, 
Stopp'd our escape, the door securely barr'd, 
And to our honour violence prepar'd. 450 

But we, transform'd to birds, avoid his snare, 
On pinions rising in the yielding air. 

But he, by lust and indignation fir'd, 
Up to his highest tow'r with speed retir'd, 
And cries, In Tain you from my arms withdrew ; 455 
The way you go, your lover will pursue. 
Then in a flying posture wildly plac'd, 
And daring from that height himself to cast, 
The wretch fell headlong, and the ground bestrew'd 
With broken bones, and stains of guilty blood. 460 

The Muse yet spoke ; when they began to hear 
A noise of wings that flutter'd in the air ; 
And straight a voice, from some high spreading bough, 
Seem'd to salute the company below. 
The goddess wonder'd, and inquired whence 465 

That tongue was heard, that spoke so plainly sense 
(It seem'd to her a human voice to be, 
But prov'd a bird's ; for in a shady tree 
Nine magpies perch'd, lament their alter'd state, 
And what they hear are skilful to repeat). 470 

The sister to the wond'ring goddess said : 
These, foil'd by us, by us were thus repaid. 


These did Evippe of Paeonia bring 

With nine hard labour-pangs to Pella's king. 

The foolish virgins, of their number proud, 475 

And puff'd with praises of the senseless crowd, 

Through all Achaia, and th' iEinonian plains, 

Defy'd us thus, to match their artless strains : 

No more, ye Thespian girls, your notes repeat, 

Nor with false harmony the vulgar cheat : 480 

In voice or skill, if you with us will vie, 

As many we, in voice or skill will try. 

Surrender you to us, if we excel, 

Fam'd Aganippe, and Medusa's well. 

The conquest yours, your prize from us shall be 485 

Th' iEmathian plains to snowy Pasone ; 

The Nymphs our judges. — To dispute the field, 

We thought a shame ; but greater shame to yield. 

On seats of living stone the sisters sit, 

And by the rivers swear to judge aright. 490 

Then rises one of the presumptuous throng, 
Steps rudely forth, and first begins the song: 
With vain address describes the giants' wars, 
And to the gods their fabled acts prefers. 
She sings, from earth's dark womb how Typhon rose, 
And struck with mortal fear his heav'nly foes. 406 
How the gods fled to Egypt's slimy soil, 
And hid their heads beneath the banks of Nile ; 
How Typhon, from the conquer'd skies, pursu'd 
Their routed godheads to the sev'n-mouth'd flood : 500 
Forc'd ev'ry god, his fury to escape, 
Some beastly form to take, or earthly shape. 
Jove (so she sung) was chang'd into a ram, 
From whence the horns of Libyan Ammon came. 
Bacchus a goat, Apollo was a crow; 505 

Phoebe a cat ; the wife of Jove a cow, 
Whose hue was whiter than the falling snow. 
Mercury to a nasty Ibis turn'd. 
The change obscene, afraid of Typhon, mourn'd; 
While Venus from a fish protection craves, 510 

And once more plunges in her native waves. 

She sang, and to her harp her voice apply'd ; 
Then us again to match her they defy'd : 

BOOK V. 119 

But oar poor song, perhaps for you to hear, 
Nor leisure serves, nor is it worth your ear. 515 

That causeless doubt remove, O Muse, rehearse 
(The goddess cry'd) your ever-grateful verse. 
Beneath a chequer'd shade she takes her seat, 
And bids the sister her whole song repeat. 

The sister thus; Calliope we chose 520 

For the performance. — The sweet virgin rose 
With ivy crown'd, she tunes her golden strings, 
And to her harp this composition sings. 

First Ceres taught the lab'ring hind to plow 
The pregnant earth, and quick'ning seed to sow. 525 
She first for man did wholesome food provide, 
And with just laws the wicked world supply'd : 
All good from her deriv'd, to her belong 
The grateful tributes of the Muse's song. 
Her more than worthy of our verse we deem, 530 
Oh ! were our verse more worthy of the theme. 

Jove on the giant, fair Trinacria hurl'd, 
And with one bolt reveng'd his starry world. 
Beneath her burning hills Tiphaeus lies, 
And, struggling always, strives in vain to rise. 535 
Down does Pelorus his right hand suppress 
Tow'rd Latium, on the left Pachyne weighs; 
His legs are under Lilybseum spread, 
And iEtna presses hard his horrid head. 
On his broad back he there extended lies, 540 

And vomits clouds of ashes to the skies. 
Oft lab'ring with his load, at last he tires, 
And spews out in revenge a flood of fires. 
Mountains he struggles to o'erwhelm and towns ; 
Earth's inmost bowels quake, and Nature groans. 545 
His terrors reach the direful king of hell ; 
He fears his throes will to the day reveal 
The realms of night, and fright his trembling ghosts. 

This to prevent, he quits the Stygian coasts, 
In his black car, by sooty horses drawn, 550 

Fair Sicily he seeks, and dreads the dawn. 
Around her plains he cast his eager eyes, 
And ev'ry mountain to the bottom tries : 
But when, in all the careful search he saw 


No cause of fear, no ill-suspected flaw ; 555 

Secure from harm, and wand'ring on at will, 

Venus beheld him from her flow'ry hill : 

When straight the dame her little Cupid press'd 

With secret rapture to her snowy breast, 

And in these words the fluttering boy address'd : 560 

O thou, my arms, my glory, and my pow'r, 
My son, whom men, and deathless gods adore; 
Bend thy sure bow, whose arrows never miss'd, 
No longer let hell's king thy sway resist: 
Take him , while straggling from his dark abodes ; 565 
He coasts the kingdom of superior gods. 
If sov'reign Jove, if gods who rule the waves, 
And Neptune who rules them have been thy slaves ; 
Shall hell be free 1 The tyrant strike, my son, 
Enlarge thy mother's empire, and thy own. 570 

Let not our heav'n be made the mock of hell, 
But Pluto to confess thy pow'r compel, 
Our rule is slighted in our native skies, 
See Pallas, see Diana too defies 
Thy darts, which Ceres' daughter would despise. 575 
She too our empire treats with awkward scorn ; 
Such insolence no longer's to be borne. 
Revenge our slighted reign, and with thy dart 
Transfix the virgin's to the uncle's heart. 

She said : and from his quiver straight he drew 580 
A dart that surely would the business do. 
She guides his hand, she makes her touch the tes , 
And of a thousand arrows chose the best : 
No feather better pois'd, a sharper head 
None had, and sooner none, and surer sped. 585 

He bends his bow, he draws it to his ear, 
Through Pluto's heart it drives, and fixes there. 

Near Enna's walls a spacious lake is spread, 
Fam'd for the sweetly-singing swans it bred ; 
Pergusa is its name : And never more 590 

Were heard, or sweeter on Cayster's shore. 
Woods crown the lake ; and Phoebus ne'er invades 
The tufted fences, or offends the shades : 
Fresh fragrant breezes fan the verdant bow'rs, 
And the moist ground smiles with enamell'd flow'rs. 

BOOK V. 12L 

The cheerful birds their airy carols sing, 596 

And the whole year is one eternal spring. 

Here while young Proserpine, among the maids, 
Diverts herself in these delicious shades ; 
While like a child with busy speed and care 600 

She gathers lilies here, and violets there ; 
While first to fill her little lap she strives, 
Hell's grizzly monarch at the shade arrives ; 
Sees her thus sporting on the flow'ry green, 
And loves the blooming maid, as soon as seen. 605 
His urgent flame impatient of delay, 
Swift as his thought he seiz'd the beauteous prey, 
And bore her in his sooty car away. 
The frighted goddess to her mother cries : 
But all in vain, for now far off she flies ; 610 

Far she behind her leaves her virgin train ; - 
To them too cries, and cries to them in vain. 
And, while with passion she repeats her call, 
The violets from her lap, and lilies fall : 
She misses 'em, poor heart! and makes new moan : 
Her lilies, ah ! are lost, her violets gone. 616 

O'er hills the ravisher, and valleys speeds, 
By name encouraging his foamy steeds ; 
He rattles o'er their necks the rusty reins, 
And ruffles with the stroke their shaggy manes. 620 
O'er lakes he whirls his flying wheels, and comes 
To the Palici breathing sulph'rous fumes. 
And thence to where the Bacchiads of renown 
Between unequal havens built their town ; 
Where Arethusa, round th' imprison'd sea, 625 

Extends her crooked coast to Cyane ; 
The nymph who gave the neighb'ring lake a name, 
Of all Sicilian nymphs the first in fame. 
She from the waves advanc'd her beauteous head, 
The goddess knew, and thus to Pluto said: 630 

Farther thou shalt not with the virgin run ; 
Ceres unwilling, canst thou be her son 1 
The maid should be by sweet persuasion won : 
Force suits not with the softness of the fair; 
For, if great things with small I may compare, 635 
Me Anapis once lov'd ; a milder course 


He took, and won me by his words, not force. 

Then, stretching out her arms, she stopp'd his way : 
But he, impatient of the shortest stay, 
Throws to his dreadful steeds the slacken'd rein, 640 
And strikes his iron sceptre through the main ; 
The depths profound thro' yielding waves he cleaves, 
And to hell's centre a free passage leaves; 
Down sinks his chariot, and his realms of night 
The god soon reaches with a rapid flight. 645 

But still does Cyane the rape bemoan, 
And with the goddess' wrongs laments her own ; 
For the stol'n maid, and for her injur'd spring, 
Time to her trouble no relief can bring. 
In her sad heart a heavy load she bears, 650 

Till the dumb sorrow turns her all to tears. 
Her mingling waters with that fountain pass, 
Of which she late immortal goddess was. 
Hfer varied members to a fluid melt, 
A pliant softness in her bones is fe]t. 655 

Her wavy locks first drop away in dew, 
And liquid, next, her slender fingers grew. 
The body's change soon seizes to extreme, 
Her legs dissolve, and feet flow off in stream. 
Her arms, her back, her shoulders, and her side, 660 
Her swelling breasts in little currents glide. 
A silver liquor only now remains 
Within the channel of her purple veins; 
Nothing to fill love's grasp : her husband chaste 
Bathes in that bosom he before embrac'd. 665 

Thus, while through all the earth, and all the main, 
Her daughter mournful Ceres sought in vain ; 
Aurora when with dewy looks she rose, 
Nor burnish 'd vesper found her in repose. 
At ^Etna's flaming mouth two pitchy pines 670 

To light her in her search at length she tines. 
Restless, with these, through frosty night she goes, 
Nor fears the cutting winds, nor heeds the snows ; 
And, when the morning star the day renews, 
From east to west her absent child pursues. 675 

Thirsty at last by long fatigue she grows, 
But meets no spring, no riv'let near her flows. 

BOOK V. 123 

Then looking round, a lowly cottage spies, 
bmoking among the trees, and thither hies. 

The goddess knocking at the little door, 680 

'Twas open'd by a woman old and poor, 
Who, when she begg'd for water, gave her ale 
Brew'd long, but well preserv'd from being stole. 
1 he goddess drank ; a chuffy lad was by, 
Who saw the liquor with a grudging eye, 685 

And grinning cries, She's greedy more than dry 

Ceres offended at his foul grimace, 
Flung, what she had not drunk, into his face 
The sprinklings speckle where they hit the skin, 
And a long tail does from his body spin ; 6 9Q 

His arms are turn'd to legs, and, lest his size 
^nould make him mischievous, and he migbl rise 
Against mankind, diminutive's his frame, 
Less than a lizard, but in shape the same'. 
Amaz'd the dame the wondrous sight beheld, 695 

And weeps, and fain would touch her quondam child 
Yet her approach th« affrighted vermin shuns, 
And fast into the greatest crevice runs. 
A name they gare him, which the spots express'd, 

™. r ° Se hke * StarS ' and varied a11 his Dreas *. 700 
What lands, what seas the goddess wander'd o'er 
Were long to tell, for there remain'd no more. 
Searching all round, her fruitless toil she mourns 
And, with regret, to Sicily returns. 
At length, where Cyane now flows, she came, 705 
Who could have told her, were she still the same 
As when she saw her daughter sink to hell ; 
But what she knows, she wants a tongue to tell, 
Yet this plain signal manifestly gave, 
The virgin's girdle floating on a wave, 710 

As late she dropp'd it from her slender waist, 
When with her uncle through the deep she pass'd. 
Geres the token by her grief confess'd, 
And tore her golden hair, and beat her breast. 
She knows not on what land her curse should faU 
But, as ingrate, alike upbraids them all, 716 

Unworthy of her gifts ; Trinacria most, 
Where the last steps she found of what she lost. 
* Stellio. 


The plough for this the vengeful goddess broke, 

And with one death the os. and owner struck. 720 

In vain the fallow fields the peasant tills ; 

The seed, corrupted ere 'tis sown, she kills. 

The fruitful soil, that once such harvest bore, 

Now mocks the farmer's care, and teems no more ; 

And the rich grain which fills the furrow'd glade, 

Rots in the seed, or shrivels in the blade; 72fi 

Or too much sun burns up, or too much rain 

Drowns, or black blights destroy the blasted plain ; 

Or greedy birds the new-sown corn devour, 

Or darnel, thistles, and a crop impure 730 

Of knotted grass, along the acres stand, 

And spread their thriving roots through all the land. 

Then from the waves soft Arethusa rears 
Her head, and back she flings her dropping hairs. 
O mother of the maid, whom thou so far 735 

Hast sought, of whom thou canst no tidings hear: 
O thou (she cry'd) who art to life a friend, 
Cease here thy search, and let thy labour end. 
Thy faithful Sicily's a guiltless clime, 
And should not suffer for another's crime ; 740 

She neither knew, nor could prevent the deed : — 
Nor think that for my country thus I plead ; 
My country's Pisa, I'm an alien here, 
Yet these abodes to Elis I prefer, 
No clime to me so sweet, no place so dear. 745 

These springs I, Arethusa, now possess, 
And this my seat, O gracious goddess, bless. 
This island why I love, and why I cross'd 
Such spacious seas to reach Ortygia's coast, 
To you I shall impart, when, void of care, 750 

Your heart's at ease and you more fit to hear ; 
When on your brow no pressing sorrow sits ; 
For gay content alone such tales admits. 
When through earth's caverns I awhile have roll'd 
My waves, I rise, and here again behold 755 

The long-lost stars; and as I late did glide 
Near Styx, Proserpina there I espy'd. 
Fear still with grief might in her face be seen ; 
She still her rape laments ; yet, made a queen, 
Beneath those gloomy shades her sceptre sways, 760 

BOOK V. 125 

And e'en the infernal king her will obeys. 

This heard, the goddess like a statue stood, 
Stupid with grief: and in that musing mood 
Continu'd long ; new cares awhile suppress'd 
The reigning powers of her immortal breast. 765 

At last to Jove, her daughter's sire, she flies, 
And with her chariot cuts the crystal skies ; 
She comes in clouds, and with dishevell'd hair, 
Standing before his throne, prefers her pray'r : 

King of the gods, defend my blood and thine, 770 
And use it not the worse for being mine. 
If I no more am gracious in thy sight, 
Be just, O Jove, and do thy daughter right. 
In vain I sought her the wide world around, 
And, when I most despair'd to find her, found. 775 
But how can I the fatal finding boast, 
By which I know she is for ever lost? 
Without her father's aid, what other pow'r 
Can to my arms the ravish'd maid restore? 
Let him restore her ; I'll the crime forgive ; 780 

My child, though ravish'd, I'd with joy receive. 
Pity, your daughter with a thief should wed, 
Though mine, you think, deserves no better bed. 

Jove thus replies : It equally belongs 
To both, to guard our common pledge from wrongs : 
But if to things we proper names apply, 786 

This hardly can be call'd an injury. 
The theft is love ; nor need we blush to own 
The thief, if I can judge, to be our son. 
Had you of his desert no other proof, 790 

To be Jove's brother is, methinks, enough. 
Nor was my throne by worth superior got, 
Heav'n fell to me, as hell to him, by lot. 
If you are still resolv'd her loss to mourn, 
And nothing less will serve than her return ; 795 

Upon these terms she may again be yours 
(Th' irrevocable terms of fate, not ours) ; 
Of Stygian food if she did never taste, 
Hell's bounds may then, and only then, be pass'd. 

The goddess now, resolving to succeed, 800 

Down to the gloomy shades descends with speed. 


But adverse fate had otherwise deereed : 

For, long before, her giddy, thoughtless child 

Had broke her fast, and all her projects spoil'd. 

As in the garden's shady walk she stray'd, 805 

A fair pomegranate charcn'd the simple maid; 

Hung in her way, and tempting her to taste, 

She pluck'd the fruit, and took a short repast. 

Seven times, a seed at once, she eat the food ; 

The fact Ascalaphus had only view'd; 810 

Whom Acheron begot, in Stygian shades, 

On Orphne, fam'd among A vernal maids ; 

He saw what pass'd, and, by discov'ring all, 

Detain'd the ravish'd nymph in cruel thrall. 

But now a queen, she with resentment heard, 815 

And chang'd the vile informer to a bird. 

In Phlegeton's black stream her hand she dips, 

Sprinkles his head, and wets his babbling lips. 

Soon on his face, bedropt with magic dew, 

A change appear'd, and gaudy feathers grew. 820 

A crooked beak the place of nose supplies, 

Rounder his head, and larger are his eyes. 

His arms and body waste, but are supply'd 

With yellow pinions flagging on each side. 

Hi3 nails grew crooked, and are turn'd to claws, 8*25 

And lazily along his heavy wings he draws. 

Ill-omen'd in his form, th' unlucky fowl, 

Abhorr'd by men, and calTd a screeching owl. 

Justly this punishment was due to him ; 
And less had been too little for his crime : 830 

But, O ye nymphs that from the flood descend, 
What fault of yours the gods could so oftend, 
With wings and claws your beauteous forms to spoil, 
Yet save your maiden face, and winning smile? 
Were you not with her in Pergusa's bow'rs, 835 

When Proserpine went forth to gather flow'rs? 
Since Pluto in his car the goddess caught, 
Have you not for her in each climate sought? 
And when on land you long had search'd in vain, 
You wish'd for wings to cross the pathless main ; 840 
That earth and sea might witness to your care : 
The gods were easy, and return'd your pray'r; 

BOOK V. 127 

With golden wings o'er foamy waves you fled, 
And to the sun your plumy glories spread. 
But, lest the soft enchantment of your songs, 845 
And the sweet music of your flatt'ring tongues 
Should quite be lost (as courteous fates ordain), 
Your voice and virgin beauty still remain. 

Jove some amends for Ceres' loss to make, 
Yet willing Pluto should the joy partake, 850 

Gives 'em of Proserpine an equal share, 
Who, claim'd by both, with both divides the year, 
The goddess now in either empire sways, 
Six moons in hell, and six with Ceres stays. 
Her peevish temper's chang'd; that sullen mind, 855 
Which made ev'n hell uneasy, now is kind. 
Her voice refines, her mien more sweet appears, 
Her forehead free from frowns, her eyes from tears. 
As when with golden light, the conqu'ring day 
Through dusky exhalations clears away. 860 

Ceres her daughter's rape no longer mourn 'd, 
But back to Arethusa's spring return'd ; 
And sitting on the margin, bade her tell 
From whence she came, and why a sacred well? 

Still were the purling waters ; and the maid 865 
From the smooth surface rais'd her beauteous head, 
Wipes off the drops that from her tresses ran, 
And thus to tell Alpheus' loves began : 

In Elis first I breath'd the living air, 
The chase was all my pleasure, all my care. 870 

None lov'd like me the forest to explore, 
To pitch the toils, and drive the bristled boar. 
Of fair, though masculine, I had the name, 
But gladly would to that have quitted claim : 
It less my pride than indignation rais'd, 875 

To hear the beauty I neglected, prais'd : 
Such compliments I loath'd, such charms as these 
I scorn'd, and thought it infamy to please. 

Once, I remember, in the summer's heat, 
Tir'd with the chase, I sought a cool retreat; 880 

And, walking on, a silent current found, 
Which gently glided o'er the grav'lly ground ; 
The crystal water was so smooth, so clear, 


My eye distinguish' d ev'ry pebble there. 

So soft its motion, that I scarce perceiv'd 885 

The running stream, or what I saw, believ'd. 

The hoary willow, and the poplar, made 

Along the shelving bank a grateful shade. 

In the cool rivulet my feet I dipp'd, 

Then waded to the knee, and then I strippM; 890 

My robe I careless on an osier threw, 

That near the place commodiously grew ; 

Nor long upon the border naked stood, 

But plung'd with speed into the silver flood. 

My arms a thousand ways I mov'd, and try'd 895 

To quicken, if I could, the lazy tide; 

Where, while I play'd my swimming gambols o'er, 

I heard a murm'ring voice, and frighted sprang to shore. 

O ! whither, Arethusa, dost thou fly ? 

From the brook's bottom did Alpheus cry, 90« 

Again I heard him, in a hollow tone, 

O ! whither Arethusay dost thou run? 

Naked I flew, nor could I stay to hide 

My limbs ; my robe was on the other side ; 

Alpheus follow'd fast, th' inflaming sight 905 

Quicken'd his speed, and made his labour light; 

He sees me ready for his eager arms, 

And, with a greedy glance, devours my charms. 

As trembling doves from pressing danger fly, 909 

When the fierce hawk comes sousing from the sky ; 

And, as fierce hawks the trembling doves pursue, 

From him I fled, and after me he flew. 

First by Orchomenus I took my flight, 

And soon had Psophis and Cyllene in sight; 

Behind me then high Mamalus I lost, 915 

And craggy Erimanthus scal'd with frost ; 

Elis was next ; thus far the ground I trod 

With nimble feet, before the distanc'd god. 

But here I lagg'd unable to sustain 

The labour longer, and my flight maintain; 920 

While he more strong, more patient of the toil, 

And fir'd with hopes of beauty's speedy spoil, 

Gain'd my lost ground, and by redoubled pace, 

Now left between us but a narrow space. 

Unwearied I, till now, o'er hills and plains, 92* 

BOOK V. ' 129 

O'er rocks, and rivers ran, and felt no pains 

The sun behind me, and the god I kept; 

But, when I fastest should have run, I stept. 

Before my feet his shadow now appear'd ; 

As what I saw, or rather what I fear'd. 930 

Yet there I could not be deceiv'd by fear, 

Who felt his breath pant on my braided hair, 

And heard his sounding tread, and knew him to be 

Tir'd and despairing, O celestial maid, 
I'm caught (I cry'd), without thy heav'nly aid. 935 
Help me, Diana, help a nymph forlorn, 
Devoted to the woods, who long has worn 
Thy livery, and long thy quiver borne. 

The goddess heard; my pious pray'r prevail'd; 
In muffling clouds my virgin head was veil'd. 940 
The am'rous god, deluded of his hopes, 
Searches the gloom, and through the darkness gropes ; 
Twice, where Diana did her servant hide, 
He came, and twice, O Arethusa ! cry'd. 
How shaken was my soul, how sunk my heart ! 945 
The terror seiz'd on ev'ry trembling part. 
Thus when the wolf about the mountain prowls 
For prey, the lambkin hears his horrid howls ; 
The tim'rous hare, the pack approaching nigh, 
Thus hearkens to the hounds, and trembles at the cry ; 
Nor dares she stir, for fear her scented breath 951 
Direct the dogs, and guide the threaten'd death. 
Alpheus in the cloud no traces found 
To mark my way, yet stays to guard the ground. 
The god so near, a chilly sweat possess'd 955 

My fainting limbs at ev'ry pore exprest ; 
My strength distill'd in drops, my hair in dew, 
My form was chang'd, and all my substance new. 
Each motion was a stream, and my whole frame 
Turn'd to a fount, which still preserves my name 960 
Resolv'd I should not his embrace escape, 

Again the god resumes his fluid shape ; 

To mix his streams with mine he fondly tries, 

But still Diana his attempt denies ; 

She cleaves the ground; through caverns dark I run 

A diff'rent current, while he keeps his own, 96c 



To dear Ortygia she conducts my way, 
And here I first review the welcome day. 

Here Arethusa stopp'd ; then Ceres takes 
Her golden car, and yokes her fiery snakes ; 970 

With a just rein, along mid-heav'n she flies 
O'er earth, and seas, and cuts the yielding skies. 
She halts at Athens, dropping like a star, 
And to Triptolemus resigns her car. 
Parent of seed, she gave him fruitful grain, 975 

And bade him teach, to till and plough the plain ; 
The seed to sow, as well in fallow fields, 
As where the soil manur'd, a richer harvest yields. 

The youth o'er Europe, and o'er Asia drives, 
Till at the court of Lyncus he arrives. 980 

The tyrant, Scythia's barb'rous empire sway'd; 
And, when he saw Triptolemus, he said : 
How cam'st thou, stranger, to our court, and why 1 
Thy country, and thy name? the youth did thus 
reply : — 

Triptolemus my name ; my country's known 985 
O'er all the world, Minerva's fav'rite town; 
Athens, the first of cities in renown. 
By land I neither walk'd, nor sail'd by sea, 
But hither through the aether made my way. 
By me, the goddess who the fields befriends, 990 

These gifts, the greatest of all blessings, sends. 
The grain she gives, if in your soil you sow, 
Thence wholesome food in golden crops shall grow. 

Soon as the secret to the king was known, 
He grudg'd the glory of the service done, 995 

And wickedly resolv'd to make it all his own. 
To hide his purpose, he invites his guest, 
The friend of Ceres, to a royal feast : 
And when sweet sleep his heavy eyes had seiz'd, 
The tyrant with his steel attempts his breast. 1000 
Him straight a lynx's shape the goddess gives, 
And home the youth her sacred dragons drives. 

The chosen Muse here ends her sacred lays : 
The nymphs unanimous decree the bays, 
And give the Heliconian goddesses the praise. 1005 

BOOK VI. 131 

Then, far from vain that we should thus prevail, 

But much provok'd to hear the vanquish'd rail, 

Calliope resumes : Too long we've borne 

Your daring taunts, and your affronting scorn ; 

Your challenge justly merited a curse, 1010 

And this unmanner'd railing makes it worse. 

Since you refuse us calmly to enjoy 

Our patience, next our passions we'll employ : 

The dictates of a mind enrag'd pursue, 

And, what our just resentment bids us, do. 1015 

The railers laugh, our threats and wrath despise, 
And clap their hands, and make a scolding noise : 
But in the fact they're seiz'd ; beneath their nails 
Feathers they feel, and on their faces scales ; 
Their horny beaks at once each other scare, 1020 

Their arms are plum'd, and on their backs they bear 
Pied wings, and flutter in the fleeting air. 
Chatt'ring, the scandal of the woods they fly, 
And there continue still their clam'rous cry : 
The same their eloquence, as maids, or birds, 1025 
Now only noise, and nothing then but words. 



The transformation of Arachne into a spider. The story o f 
Niobe. The transformation of Niobe. The peasants of Lycia 
transformed to frogs. The fate of Marsyas. The story of 
Pelops. The story of Tereus, Procne, and Philomela. Boreas 
in love. 

Pallas, attending to the Muses' song, 

Approv'd. the just resentment of their wrong ; 

And thus reflects : While tamely I commend 

Those who their injur'd deities defend, 

My own divinity affronted stands, 5 

And calls aloud for justice at my hands : 

Then takes the hint, asham'd to lag behind, 

And on Arachne bends her vengeful mind ; 

One at the loom so excellently skill'd, 

That to the goddess she refus'd to yield. 10 


Low was her birth, and small her native town ; 
She from her art alone obtain'd renown. 
Idmon, her father, made it his employ, 
To give the spongy fleece a purple dye. 
Of vulgar strain her mother, lately dead, 15 

With her own rank had been content to wed ; 
Yet she their daughter, though her time was spent 
In a small hamlet, and of mean descent, 
Through the great towns of Lydia gain'd a name, 
And fill'd the neighb'ring countries with her fame. 

Oft, to admire the niceness of her skill, 21 

The nymphs would quit their fountain, shade, or hill; 
Thither, from green Tymolus, they repair, 
And leave the vineyards, their peculiar care; 
Thither, from fam'd Pactolus' golden stream, 25 

Drawn by her art, the curious Naiads came. 
Nor would the work, when finishM, please so much, 
As, while she wrought, to view each graceful touch ; 
Whether the shapeless wool in balls she wound, 
Or with quick motion turn'd the spindle round, 3ft 
Or with her pencil drew the neat design, 
Pallas her mistress shone in every line. 
This, the proud maid with scornful air denies, 
And e'en the goddess at her work defies ; 
Disowns her heav'nly mistress ev'ry hour, 35 

Nor asks her aid, nor deprecates her pow'r:— 
Let us (she cries) but to a trial come, 
And, if she conquers, let her fix my doom. 

The goddess then a beldame's form put on, 
With silver hairs her hoary temples shone ; 40 

Propp'd by a staff", she hobbles in her walk, 
And tott'ring, thus begins her old wife's talk: 

Young maid, attend, nor stubbornly despise 
The admonitions of the old and wise; 
For age, though scorn'd, a ripe experience bears, 45 
That golden fruit, unknown to blooming years : 
Still may remotest fame your labours crown, 
And mortals your superior genius own ; 
But to the goddess yield, and humbly meek 
A pardon for your bold presumption seek; 58 

The goddess will forgive. — At this the maid, 
With passion flr'd, her gliding shuttle stay'd* 

BOOK VI. 133 

And, darting vengeance with an angry look, 
To Pallas in disguise, thus fiercely spoke : 

Thou doating thing, whose idle hahhling tongue 55 
But too well shews the plague of living long; 
Hence, and reprove, with this your sage advice, 
Your giddy daughter, or your awkward niece : 
Know, I despise your counsel, and am still 
A woman, ever wedded to my will; 60 

And, if your skilful goddess hetter knows, 
Let her accept the trial I propose. 

She does (impatient Pallas straight replies) ; 
And, cloth'd with heav'nly light, sprang from her odd 
The nymphs and virgins of the plain adore [disguise. 
The awful goddess, and confess her pow'r; ' 66 

The maid alone stood unappall'd; yet shew'd 
A transient hlush, that for a moment glow'd, 
Then disappear'd ; as purple streaks adorn 
The opening beauties of the rosy morn ; 70 

Till Phoebus rising prevalently bright, 
Allays the tincture with his silver light, 
Yet she persists, and, obstinately great, 
In hopes of conquest, hurries on her fate. 

The goddess now the challenge waves no more, 75 
Nor, kindly good, advises as before. 

Straight to their posts appointed both repair, 
And fix their threaded looms with equal care : 
Around the solid beam the web is tied, 
While hollow canes the parting warp divide ; 80 

Through which, with nimble flight the shuttles play, 
And for the woof prepare a ready way ; 
The woof and warp unite, prest by the toothy slay. 

Thus both, -their mantles button'd to their breast, 
Their skilful fingers ply with willing haste, 85 

And work with pleasure ; while they cheer the eye 
With glowing purple of the Tyrian die ; 
Or, justly intermixing shades with light, 
Their colourings insensibly unite. 
As when a show'r transpierc'd with sunny rays, 90 
Its mighty arch along the heav'n displays; 
From whence a thousand diff'rent colours rise, 
Whose fine transition cheats the clearest eyes; 


So like the intermingled shading seems, 

And only differs in the last extremes. 95 

Then threads of gold both artfully dispose, 

And, as each part in just proportion rose, 

Some antique fable in their work disclose. 

Pallas in figures wrought the heav'nly pow'rs, 
And Mars's hill among th' Athenian tow'rs. 100 

On lofty thrones twice six celestials sate, 
Jove in the midst, and held their warm debate ; 
The subject weighty, and well-known to fame, 
From whom the city should receive its name. 
Each god by proper features was exprest, 105 

Jove with majestic mien excell'd the rest. 
His three-fork' d mace the dewy sea-god shook, 
And, looking sternly, smote the ragged rock ; 
When from the stone leapt forth a sprightly steed, 
And Neptune claims the city for the deed. 110 

Herself she blazons with a glitt'ring spear, 
And crested helm that veiled her braided hair, 
Withshield, and scaly breast-plate, implements of war. 
Struck with her pointed lance, the teeming earth 
Seem'd to produce a new surprising birth ; 115 

When, from the glebe, the pledge of conquest sprung, 
A tree pale-green with fairest olives hung. 

And then, to let her giddy rival learn 
What just rewards such boldness was to earn, 
Four trials at each corner had their part, 120 

Design'd in miniature, and touch'd with art. 
Haemus in one, and Rhodope of Thrace, 
Transform'd to mountains, fill'd the foremost place ; 
Who claim'd the titles of the gods above, 
And vainly us'd the epithets of Jove 125 

Another shew'd, where the Pigmaean dame, 
Profaning Juno's venerable name, 
Turn'd to an airy crane, descends from far, 
And with her pigmy subjects wages war. 
In a third part, the rage of heaven's great queen, 130 
Display'd on proud Antigone, was seen : 
Who with presumptuous boldness dared to vie, 
For beauty, with the empress of the sky. 
Ah ! what avails her ancient princely race, 
Her sire a king, and Troy her native place! 135 

BOOK VI. 135 

Now, to a noisy stork transform'd, she flies, 
And with her whiten'd pinions cleaves the skies. 
And in the last remaining part was drawn 
Poor Cinyras, that seem'd to weep in stone; 
Clasping the temple steps, he sadly mourn'd 140 

His lovely daughters now to marble turn'd. 
With her own tree the finish'd piece is crown'd, 
And wreaths of peaceful olive all the work surround . 

Arachne drew the fam'd intrigues of Jove, 
Chang'd to a bull to gratify his love; 145 

How through the briny tide all foaming hoar, 
Lovely Europa on his back he bore. 
The sea seem'd waving, and the trembling maid 
Shrunk up her tender feet, as if afraid ; 
And, looking back on the forsaken strand, 150 

To her companions wafts her distand hand. 

Next she design'd Asteria's fabled rape, 
When Jove assum'd a soaring eagle's shape : 
And shew'd how Leda lay supinely press'd, 154 

Whilst the soft snowy swan sate hov'ring o'er her 
How in a satyr's form the god beguil'd, [breast. 

When fair Antiope with twins he fill'd. 
Then, like Amphitryon, but a real Jove, 
In fair Alcmena's arms he cool'd his love. 
In fluid gold to Danae's heart he came, 160 

jEgina felt him in a lambent flame. 
He took Mnemosyne in shepherd's make, 
And for D'eois was a speckled snake. 

She made thee, Neptune, like a wanton steer, 
Pacing the meads for love of Arne dear : 165 

Next like a stream, thy burning flame to slake, 
And like a ram, for fair Bisaltis' sake. 
Then Ceres in a steed your vigour tried, 
Nor could the mare the yellow goddess hide. 
Next, to a fowl transform'd, you won by force 170 
The snake-hair'd mother of the winged horse ; 
And, in a dolphin's fishy form, subdu'd 
Melantho sweet beneath the oozy flood. 

All these the maid with lively features drew, 
And open'd proper landscapes to the view. 175 

There Phoebus roving like a country swain, 
Attunes his jolly pipe along the plain ; 


For lovely Isse's sake in shepherd's weeds, 
O'er pastures green his bleating flock he feeds. 
There Bacchus, imag'd like the clust'ring grape, 180 
Melting bedrops Erigone's fair lap; 
And there old Saturn, stung with youthful heat, 
Form'd like a stallion, rushes to the feat. 
Fresh flow'rs, which twists of ivy intertwine, 
Mingling a running foliage, close the neat design. 195 

This the bright goddess, passionately mov'd, 
With envy saw, yet inwardly approv'd. 
The scene of heav'nly guilt with haste she tore, 
Nor longer the affront with patience bore ; 
A boxen shuttle in her hand she took, 190 

And more than once Arachne's forehead struck. 
Th' unhappy maid, impatient of the wrong, 
Down from a beam her injur'd person hung ; 
When Pallas, pitying her wretched state, 
At once prevented, and pronounc'd her fate : — 195 
Live; but depend, vile wretch (the goddess cry'd), 
Doom'd in suspense for ever to be tied ; 
That all your race, to utmost date of time, 
May feel the vengeance, and detest the crime. 

Then, going off, she sprinkled her with juice, 200 
Which leaves of baleful aconite produce. 
Touch'd with the pois'nous drug, her flowing hair 
Fell to the ground, and left her temples bare ; 
Her usual features vanish'd from their place, 
Her body lessen'd all, but most her face. 205 

Her slender fingers, hanging on each side 
With many joints, the use of legs supply'd : 
A spider's bag, the rest from which she gives 
A thread, and still by constant weaving lives. 200 

Swift through the Phrygian towns the rumour flies, 
And the strange news each female tongue employs : 
Niobe, who, before she married, knew 
The famous nymph, now found the story true ; 
Yet, unreclaira'd by poor Arachne's fate, 
Vainly above the gods assum'd a state. 215 

Her husband's fame, their family's descent, 
Their pow'r, a rich dominion's wide extent, 
Might well have justified a decent pride ; 

BOOK VI. 137 

Hut not on these alone the dame relied. 

Her lovely progeny, that far excell'd, 22o 

The mother's heart with -vain ambition swell 'd : 

The happiest mother not unjustly styl'd, 

Had no conceited thoughts her tow'ring fancy fill'd. 

For once a prophetess with zeal inspir'd, 
Their slow neglect to warm devotion nr'd ; 225 

Through ev'ry street of Thebes who ran possess'd, 
And thus in accents wild her charge express'd : — 
Haste, haste, ye Theban matrons, and adore, 
With hallow'd rites, Latona's mighty pow'r; 
And, to the heav'nly twins that from her spring, 230 
With laurel crown'd, your smoking incense bring. 

Straight the great summons ev'ry dame obey'd, 
And due submission to the goddess paid ; 
Graceful, with laurel chaplets dress'd they came, 
And offer'd incense in the sacred flame. 23. "» 

Meanwhile, surrounded with a courtly guard, 
The royal Niobe in state appear'd ; 
Attir'd in robes embroider'd o'er with gold, 
And mad with rage, yet lovely to behold: 
Her comely tresses, trembling as she stood, 240 

Down her fine neck with easy motion flow'd ; 
Then, darting round a proud disdainful look, 
In haughty tone her hasty passion broke, 
And thus began : What madness this, to court 
A goddess founded merely on report 1 245 

Dare ye a poor pretended pow'r invoke, 
While yet no altars to my godhead smoke 1 
Mine, whose immediate lineage stands confest 
From Tantalus, the only mortal guest 
That e'er the gods admitted to their feast. 250' 

A sister of the Pleiads gave me birth ; 
And Atlas, mightiest mountain upon earth, 
Who bears the globe of all the stars above, 
My grandsire was, and Atlas sprang from Jove. 
The Theban towns my majesty adore, 255 

And neighb'ring Phrygia trembles at my pow'r: 
Rais'd by my husband's lute, with turrets crown'd, 
Our lofty city stands secur'd around. 
Within my court, where'er I turn my eyes, 
Unbounded treasures to my prospect rise ; 260 


With these my face I modestly may name, 

As not unworthy of so high a claim : 

Seven are my daughters, of a form divine, 

With seven fair sons, an indefective line. 

Go, fools ! consider this ; and ask the cause 265 

From which my pride its strong presumption draws. 

Consider this ; and then prefer to me 

Caeus the Titan's vagrant progeny ; 

To whom, in travail, the whole spacious earth 

No room afforded for her spurious birth. 270 

Not the least part in earth, in heav'n, or seas, 

Would grant your outlaw'd goddess any ease : 

Till pitying her's, from his own wand'ring case, 

Delos, the floating island, gave a place. 

There she a mother was, of two at most ; 275 

Only the seventh part of what I boast. 

My joys all are beyond suspicion fixt : 

With no pollutions of misfortune mixt : 

Safe on the basis of my pow'r I stand, 

Above the reach of fortune's fickle hand. 280 

Lessen she may my inexhausted store, 

And much destroy, yet still must leave me more. 

Suppose it possible that some may die 

Of this my num'rous lovely progeny ; 

Still with Latona I might safely vie, 285 

Who, by her scanty breed, scarce fit to name, 

But just escapes the childless woman's shame. 

Go then, with speed your laurel'd heads uncrown, 

And leave the silly farce you have begun. 

The tim'rous throng their sacred rites forbore, 290 
And from their heads the verdant laurel tore ; 
Their haughty queen they with regret obey'd, 
And still in gentle murmurs softly pray'd. 

High, on the top of Cynthus' shady mount, 
With grief the goddess saw the base affront: 295 

And, the abuse revolving in her breast, 
The mother her twin-offspring thus address'd : 

Lo I, my children, who with comfort knew 
Your god-like birth, and thence my glory drew ; 
And thence have claim'd precedency of place 800. 

From all but Juno, of the heav'njy race, 
Must now despair, and languish in disgrace. 

BOOK VI. 139 

My godhead questioned, and all rites divine, 

Unless you succour, banish'd from my shrine. 

Nay more, the imp of Tantalus has flung 305 

Reflections with her vile paternal tongue ; 

Has dar'd prefer her mortal breed to mine, [repine ! 

And call'd me childless ; which, just Fate, may she 

When to urge more the goddess was prepar'd, 
Phoebus in haste replies, Too much we've heard, 310 
And ev'ry moment's lost, while vengeance is deferr'd.-- 
Diana spoke the same. Then both enshroud 
Their heav'nly bodies in a sable cloud ; 
And to the Theban tow'rs descending light, 
Through the soft yielding air direct their flight. 315 

Without the wall their lies a champaign ground 
With even surface, far extending round, 
Beaten and levell'd, while it daily feels 
The trampling horse, and chariot's grinding wheels. 
Part of proud Niobe's young rival breed, 320 

Practising there to ride the manag'd steed, 
Their bridles boss'd with gold, were mounted high 
On stately furniture of Tyrian die. 

Of these, Ismenos, who by birth had been 
The first fair issue of the fruitful queen, 325 

fust as he drew the rein to guide his horse 
Around the compass of the circling course, 
Sigh'd deeply, and the pangs of smart express'd, 
While the shaft stuck, engor'd, within his breast: 
And the reins dropping from his dying hand, 330 

He sunk quite down, and tumbled on the sand. 

Sipylus next the rattling quiver heard, 
And with full speed for his escape prepar'd ; 
As when the pilot from the black'ning skies 
A gath'ring storm of wintry rain descries, 335 

His sails unfurl'd, and crowded all with wind, 
He strives to leave the threat'ning cloud behind : 
So fled the youth : but an unerring dart 
O'ertook him, quick discharged, and sped with art; 
Fix'd in his neck behind, it trembling stood, 340 

And at his throat display'd the point besmear'd with 
Prone as his posture was, he tumbled o'er, [blood, 
And bath'd his courser's name with streaming gore. 

Next at young Phsedimus they took their aim ; 


And Tantalus, who bore bis grandsire's name : 345 

These, when their other exercise was done, 

To try the wrestler's oily sport begun ; 

And, straining ev'ry nerve, their skill express'd 

In closest grapple, joining breast to breast : 

When from the bending bow an arrow sent, 350 

Join'd as they were, through both their bodies went : 

Both groan'd, and writhing both their limbs with pain, 

They fell together, bleeding on the plain : 

Then both their languid eye-balls faintly roll, 

And thus together breathe away their soul. 355 

With grief Alphenor saw their doleful plight, 
And smote his breast, and sicken'd at the sight ; 
Then to their succour ran with eager haste, 
And, fondly griev'd; their stiffening limbs embrac'd : 
But in the action falls ; a thrilling dart, 300 

By Phoebus guided, pierc'd him to the heart. 
This, as they drew it forth, his midriff tore, 
Its barbed point the fleshy fragments bore, 
And let the soul gush out in streams of purple gore. 
But Damascithon, by a double wound, 365 

Beardless and youug, lay gasping on the ground, 
Fix'd in his sinewy ham, the steely point 
Stuck through his knee, and pierc'd the nervous joint: 
And, as he stoop'd to tug the painful dart, 
Another struck him in a vital part ; 370 

Shot through his wezon, by the wing it hung, 
The life-blood forc'd it out, and darting upward sprung. 

Ilioneus, the last, with terror stands ; 
Lifting in pray'r his unavailing hands; 
And, ignorant from whom his griefs arise, 375 

Spare me, O all ye heav'nly pow'rs (he cries) : 
Phoebus was touch'd too late, the sounding bow 
Had sent the shaft, and struck the fatal blow ; 
Which yet but gently gor'd his tender side, 
So by a slight and easy wound he died. 380 

Swift to the mother's ears the rumour came, 
And doleful sighs the heavy news proclaim ; 
With anger and surprise, inflam'd by turns, 
In furious rage her haughty stomach burns : 
First she disputes th' effects of heav'nly pow'r, 385 
Then at their daring boldness wonders more; 

BOOK VI. 141 

For poor Araphion with sore grief distrest, 

Hoping to soothe his cares by endless rest, 

Had sheath'd a dagger in his wretched breast. 

And she who toss'd her high disdainful head, 390 

When through the streets in solemn pomp, she led 

The throng that from Latona's altar fled, 

Assuming state beyond the proudest queen, 

Was now the miserablest object seen. 

Prostrate among the clay-cold dead she fell, 395 

And kiss'd an undistinguish'd last farewell. 

Then her pale arms advancing to the skies, 

Cruel Latona! triumph now (she cries); 

My grieving soul in bitter anguish drench, 

And with my woes your thirsty passion quench ; 400 

Feast your black malice at a price thus dear, 

While the sore pangs of sev'n such deaths I bear. 

Triumph, too cruel rival, and display 

Your conquer'd standard; for you've won the day. 

Yet I'll excel; for yet, though sev'n are slain, 405 

Superior still in number I remain. 

Scarce had she spoke; the bowstring's twanging 
Was heard, and dealt fresh terrors all around ; [sound 
Which all, but Niobe alone, confound. 
Stunn'd and obdurate by her load of grief, 410 

Insensible she sits, nor hopes relief. 

Before the fun'ral biers, all weeping sad, 
Her daughters stood, in vests of sable clad ; 
When one, surpris'd, and stung with sudden smart, 
In vain attempts to draw the sticking dart, 415 

But to grim death her blooming youth resigns, 
And o'er her brother's corse her dying head reclines. 

This, to assuage her mother's anguish tries, 
And, silenc'd in the pious action dies ; 
Shot by a secret arrow, wing'd with death, 420 

Her fault'ring lips but only gasp'd for breath. 

One on her dying sister breathes her last; 
Vainly in flight another's hopes are plac'd: 
This hiding from her fate a shelter seeks ; 
That trembling stands, and fills the air with shrieks : 
And all in vain; for now all six had found 426 

Their way to death, each by a diff'rent wound. 
The last, with eager care the mother veil'd, ., 


Behind her spreading mantle close conceal'd, 

And with her body guarded as a shield 430 

Only for this, this youngest I implore, 

Grant me this one request, I ask no more ; 

O, grant me this ! she passionately cries: — - 

But while she speaks, the destin'd virgin dies. 

Widow'd, and childless (lamentable state!) 435 

A doleful sight among the dead she sate ; 
Harden'd with woes, a statue of despair, 
To ev'ry breath of wind unmov'd her hair; 
Her cheek still redd'ning, but its colour dead ; 
Faded her eyes, and set within her head. J4*> 

No more her pliant tongue its motion keeps, 
But stands congeal'd within her frozen lips. 
Stagnate and dull, within her purple veins, 
Its current stopp'd, the lifeless blood remains. 
Her feet their usual offices refuse, 445 

Her arms and neck their graceful gestures lose : 
Action, and life from ev'ry part are gone ; 
And e'en her entrails turn to solid stone : 
Yet still she weeps ; and, whirl'd by stormy winds, 
Borne through the air, her native country finds ; 450 
There fix'd, she stands upon a bleaky hill, 
There yet her marble cheeks eternal teara distil. 

Then all, reclaim'd by this example shew'd 
A due regard for each peculiar god : 
Both men and women their devoirs express'd, 456 
And great Latona's awful pow'r confess'd. 
Then, tracing instances of older time, 
To suit the nature of the present crime, 
Thus one begins his tale : — Where Lycia yields 
A golden harvest from its fertile fields, 460 

Some churlish peasants, in the days of yore, 
Provok'd the goddess to exert her pow'r. 
The thing, indeed, the meanness of the place 
Has made obscure, surprising as it was ; 
But I myself once happen'd to behold 465 

This famous lake of which the story's told. 
My father then, worn out by length of days, 
Nor able to sustain the tedious ways, 

BOOK VI. 143 

Me, with a guide, had sent the plains to roam, 

And drive his well-fed, straggling heifers home. 470 

Here, as we saunter'd through the verdant meads, 

We spy'd a lake o'ergrown with trembling reeds, 

Whose wary tops an op'ning scene disclose, 

From which an antique smoky altar rose. 

I, as my superstition's guide had done, 47.') 

Stopp'd short, and bless'd myself, and then went on ; 

Yet I inquired to whom the altar stood, 

Faunus, the Na'ids, or some native god 1 

No sylvan deity, my friend replies, 

Enshrin'd within this hallow'd altar lies : 480 

For this, O youth, to that fam'd goddess stands, 

Whom, at th' imperial Juno's rough commands, 

Of ev'ry quarter of the earth bereav'd, 

Delos, the floating isle, at length receiv'd. 

Who there, in spite of enemies, brought forth, 485 

Beneath an olive's shade, her great twin-birth. 

Hence too she fled the furious step-dame's pow'r, 
And in her arms a double godhead bore ; 
And now the borders of fair Lycia gain'd, 
Just when the summer solstice parch'd the land. 490 
With thirst the goddess languishing, no more 
Her empty'd breast would yield its milky store ; 
When, from below, the smiling valley shew'd 
A silver lake that in its bottom flow'd : 
A sort of clowns were reaping, near the bank, 495 
The bending osier, and the bulrush dank; 
The cress, and water-lily, fragrant weed, 
Whose juicy stalk the liquid fountains feed. 
The goddess came, and, kneeling on the brink, 
Stoop'd at the fresh repast, prepar'd to drink. 500 
Then thus, being hinder'd by the rabble race, 
In accents mild expostulates the case : 

Water I only ask, and sure 'tis hard 
From nature's common rights to be debarr'd : 
This, as the genial sun, and vital air, 505 

Should flow alike to ev'ry creature's share, 
Yet still I ask, and as a favour crave, 
That, which a public bounty, nature gave. 
Nor do I seek my weary limbs to drench ; 
Only, with one cool draught, my thirst I'd quench. 


Now from my throat the usual moisture dries, 511 

And ev'n my voice in broken accent dies: 

One draught as dear as life I should esteem, 

And water, now I thirst, would nectar seem. 

Oh! let my little babes your pity move, 515 

And melt you? hearts to charitable love; 

They (as by chance they did) extend to you 

Their little hands, and my request pursue ! 

Whom would these soft persuasions not subdue, 
Though the most rustic, and unmanner'd crew 1 520 
Yet they the goddess's request refuse, 
And, with rude words, reproachfully abuse: 
Nay more, with spiteful feet the villains trod 
O'er the soft bottom of the marshy flood, 524 

And blacken'd all the lake with clouds of rising mud. 

Her thirst by indignation was suppress'd ; 
Bent on revenge, the goddess stood confess'd. 
Her suppliant hands uplifting to the skies, 
For a redress, to heav'n she now applies, 
And, may you live, she passionately cried, 530 

Doom'd in that pool for-ever to abide ! 

The goddess has her wish : for now they choose 
To plunge and dive among the wat'ry ooze; 
Sometimes they shew their head above the brim, 
And on the glassy surface spread to swim ; 535 

Often upon the bank their station take, 
Then spring, and leap into the coolly lake. 
Still, void of shame, they lead a clam'rous life, 
And, croaking, still scold on in endless strife ; 
Compell'd to live beneath the liquid stream, 540 

Where still they quarrel, and attempt to scream. 
Now, from their bloated throat, their voice puts on 
Imperfect murmurs in a hoarser tone ; 
Their noisy jaws, with bawling now grown wide, 
(An ugly sight) ! extend on either side : 545 

Their motley back, streak'd with a list of green, 
Join'd to their head, without a neck is seen ; 
And, with a belly broad and white, they look 
Mere frogs, and still frequent the muddy brook. 

Scarce had the man this famous story told, 550 
Of vengeance on the Lycians shewn of old, 

BOOK VI. 145 

When straight another pictures to their view 
The satyr's fate, whom angry Phoebus slew ; 
Who, rais'd with high conceit, and pufTd with pride, 
At his own pipe the skilful god defy'd. 555 

Why do you tear me from myself, he cries? 
Ah, cruel! must my skin be made the prize? 
This for a silly pipe? — he roaring said; 
Meanwhile the skin from off his limbs was flay'd : 
All bare and raw, one large continu'd wound, 560 
With streams of blood his body bath'd the ground. 
The bluish veins their trembling pulse disclos'd; 
The stringy nerves lay naked, and expos'd; 
His guts appear'd, distinctly each express'd, 
With ev'ry shining fibre of his breast. 505 

The fauns, and sylvans, with the nymphs that rove 
Among the satyrs in the shady grove; 
Olympus, known of old, and ev'ry swain 
That fed, or flock, or herd upon the plain, 
Bewail'd the loss ; and with their tears that flow'd, 
A kindly moisture on the earth bestow'd; 571 

That soon conjoin'd, and in a body rang'd, 
Sprung from the ground, to limpid water chang'd; 
Which, down thro' Phrygia's rocks, a mighty stream, 
Comes tumbling to the sea ; and Marsya is its name. 

From these relations, straight the people turn 57?; 
To present truth, and lost Amphion mourn : 
The mother most was blam'd ; yet some relate 
That Pelops pity' J, and bewail'd her fate, 
And stripp'd his clothes, and laid his shoulder bare, 
And made the iv'ry miracle appear. 581 

This shoulder, from the first, was form'd of flesh, 
As lively as the other, and as fresh ; 
But, when the youth was by his father slain, 
The gods restor'd his mangled limbs again ; 585 

Only that place which joins the neck and arm, 
The rest untouch'd, was found to suffer harm : 
The loss of which an iv'ry piece sustain'd ; 
And thus the youth his limbs and life regain'd. 

To Thebes the neighb'ring princes all repair, 590 
And with condolence the misfortune share. 


Each bord'ring state in solemn form address'd, 

And each betimes a friendly grief express'd. 

Argos, with Sparta's, and Mycenae's towns, 

And Calydon, yet free from fierce Diana's frowns. 

Corinth for finest brass well fam'd of old, 596 

Orthomeno3 for men of courage bold : 

Cleonje lying in the lowly dale, 

And rich Messaene with its fertile vale : 

Pylos, for Nestor's city after fam'd, 600 

And Trcezen, not as yet from Pittheus nam'd; 

And those fair cities, which are hemm'd around 

By double seas within the Isthmi in ground ; 

And those, which farther from the sea-coast stand, 

Lodg'd in the bosom of the spacious land. 605 

Who can believe it '{ Athens was the last : 
Though for politeness fam'd for ages past. 
For a strait siege, which then their walls inclos'd, 
Such acts of kind humanity oppos'd : 
And thick with ships, from foreign nations bound, 610 
Sea- ward their city lay invested round, 

These, with auxiiiar forces led from far, 
Tereus of Thrace, brave, and inur'd to war, 
Had quite defeated, and obtain'd a name, 
The warrior's due, among the sons of fame. 615 

This, with his wealth, and pow'r, and ancient 

From Mars deriv'd, Pandion's thoughts incline 
His daughter Procne with the prince to join. 

Nor Hymen, nor the Graces here preside, 
Not Juno to befriend the blooming bride; 620 

But fiends with fun'ral brands the process led, 
And furies waited at the genial bed : 
And all night long the screeching owl aloof, 
With baleful notes sat brooding o'er the roof. 
With such ill omens was the match begun, 625 

That made them parents of a hopeful son. 
Now Thrace congratulates their seeming joy, 
And they, in thankful rites, their minds employ. 
If the fair queen's espousals pleas'd before, 
Itys, the new-born prince, now pleases more ; 630 
And each bright day, the birth, and bridal feast, 
Were kept with hallow'd pomp above the rest. 

BOOK VI. 147 

So far true happiness may lie conceal'd, 
When, by false lights, we fancy 'tis reveal'd ! 

Now, since their nuptials, had the golden san G35 
Five courses round his ample zodiac run ; 
When gentle Procne thus her lord address'd, 
And spoke the secret wishes of her breast : — 
If I (she said) have ever favour found, 
Let my petition with success he crown'd : 640 

Let me at Athens my dear sister see, 
Or let her come to Thrace, and visit me : 
And, lest my father should her absence mourn, 
Promise that she shall make a quick return. 
With thanks I'd own the obligation due 645 

Only, O Tereus, to the gods and you. 

Now, ply'd with oar, and sail at his command, 
The nimble galleys reach M th' Athenian land, 
And anchor'd in the fam'd Pirsean bay, 
While Tereus to the palace takes his way ; 650 

The king salutes, and ceremonies past, 
Begins the fatal embassy at last : 
The occasion of his voyage he declares, 
And with his own, his wife's request prefers ; 
Asks leave that, only for a little space, 655 

Their lovely sister might embark for Thrace. 

Thus, while he spoke, appear'd the royal maid, 
Bright Philomela, splendidly array'd; 
But most attractive in her charming face, 
And comely person, turn'd with ev'ry grace : 660 

Like those fair nymphs, that are describ'd to rove 
Across the glades, and op'nings of the grove ; 
Only that these are dress'd for Sylvan sports, 
And less become the finery of courts. 
Tereus beheld the virgin, and admir'd, 665 

And with the coals of burning lust was fir'd : 
Like crackling stubble, or the summer hay, 
When forked lightnings o'er the meadows play. 
Such charms in any breast might kindle love, 
But him the heats of inbred lewdness move ; 670 

To which though Thrace is naturally prone, 
Yet his is still superior, and his own. 
Straight her attendants he designs to buy, 


And with large bribes her governors would try : 

Herself with ample gifts resolves to bend, on 

And his whole kingdom in th' attempt expend ; 

Or, snatch'd away by force of arms to bear, 

And justify the rape with open war. 

The boundless passion boils within his breast, 

And his projecting soul admits no rest. 680 

And now, impatient of the least delay, 
By pleading Procne's cause, he speeds his way : 
The eloquence of love his tongue inspires, 
And in his wife's, he speaks his own desires ; 
Hence all his importunities arise, 685 

And tears unmanly trickle from his eyes. 

Ye gods ! what thick involving darkness blinds 
The stupid faculties of mortal minds ! 
Tereus the credit of good-nature gains 
From these his crimes; so well the villain feigns. 690 
And, unsuspecting of his base designs, 
In the request fair Philomela joins ; 
Her snowy arms her aged sire embrace, 
And clasp his neck with an endearing grace ; 
Only to see her sister she entreats, 695 

A seeming blessing which a curse completes. 
Tereus surveys her with a luscious eye, 
And in his mind forestals the blissful joy: 
Her circling arms a scene of lust inspire, 
And ev'ry kiss forments the raging fire. 700 

Fondly he wishes for the father's place, 
To feel, and to return the warm embrace: 
Since not the nearest ties of filial blood 
Would damp his flame, and force him to be good. 
At length, for both their sakes, the king agrees; 70S 
And Philomela, on her bended knees, 
Thanks him for what her fancy calls success, 
When cruel fate intends her nothing less. 

Now Phoebus, hast'ning to ambrosial rest, 
His fiery steeds drove sloping down the west: 710 
The sculptur'd gold with sparkling wines was fill'd, 
And, with rich meats, each cheerful table smil'd. 
Plenty and mirth the royal banquet close, 
Then all retire to sleep, and sweet repose, 
But the lewd monarch, though withdrawn apart, 7l!i 

BOOK VI. 149 

Still feels love's poison rankling in his heart: 

Her face divine is starap'd within his breast, 

Fancy imagines, and improves the rest: 

And thus, kept waking by intense desire, 

He nourishes his own prevailing fire. 720 

Next day the good old king for Tereus sends, 
And to his charge the virgin recommends; 
His hand with tears th' indulgent father press'd ; 
Then spoke, and thus, with tenderness, address'd: 

Since the kind instances of pious love 725 

Do all pretence of obstacle remove ; 
Since Procne's, and her own, with your request, 
O'er- rule the fears of a paternal breast; 
With you, dear son, my daughter I entrust, 
And by the gods adjure you to be just ; 730 

By truth, and ev'ry consanguineal tie, 
To watch and guard her with a father's eye. 
And, since the least delay will tedious prove, 
In keeping from my sight the child I love, 
With speed return her, kindly to assuage 735 

The tedious troubles of my ling'ring age. 
And you, my Philomel, let it suffice, 
To know your sister's banish'd from my eyes; 
If any sense of duty sways your mind, 
Let me from you the shortest absence find. 740 

He wept; then kiss'd his child; and while he speaks, 
The tears fall gently down his aged cheeks. 

Next, as a pledge of fealty, he demands, 

And with a solemn charge, conjoins their hands : 
Then, to bis daughter, and his grandson sends, 745 

And by their mouth a blessing recommends; 

While, in a voice with dire forebodings broke, 

Sobbing, and faint, the last farewell was spoke. 
Now, Philomela, scarce receiv'd on board, 

And in the royal gilded bark secur'd, 750 

Beheld the dashes of the bending oar, 

The ruffled sea, and the receding shore; 

When straight (his joy impatient of disguise), 

We've gain'd our point, — the rough barbarian cries; 

Now I possess the dear, the blissful hour, 755 

And ev'ry wish subjected to my pow'r. 

Transports of lust his vicious thoughts employ, 


And he forbears, with pain, th' expected joy. 

His gloating eyes incessantly survey'd 

The virgin beauties of the lovely maid: 760 

As when the bold rapacious bird of Jove, 

With crooked talons stooping from above, 

Has snatch'd and carry'd to his lofty nest 

A captive hare, with cruel gripe oppre3s'd ; 

Secure, with fix'd, and unrelenting eyes, 765 

He sits and views the helpless, trembling prize. 

Their vessels now had made th' intended land, 
And all with joy descend upon the strand ; 
When the false tyrant seiz'd the princely maid, 
And to a lodge in distant woods convey'd : 770 

Pale, sinking, and distress'd with jealous fears, 
And asking for her sister all in tears, 
The letcher, for enjoyment fully bent, 
No longer now conceal'd his base intent: 
But with rude haste the bloomy girl deflour'd, 775 
Tender, defenceless, and with ease o'erpower'd. 
Her piercing accents to her sire complain, 
And to her absent sister, but in vain : 
In vain she importunes, with doleful cries, 
Each unattentive godhead of the skies. 780 

She pants, and trembles, like the bleating prey, 
From some close-hunted wolf just snatch'd away : 
That still, with fearful horror, looks around, 
And on its flank regards the bleeding wound. 
Or, as the tim'rous dove, the danger o'er, 785 

Beholds her shining plumes besmear'd with gore, 
And, though deliver'd from the falcon's claw 
Yet shivers, and retains a secret awe. 

But when her mind a calm reflection shar'd, 
And all her scatter'd spirits were repair'd : 700 

Torn, and disorder'd while her tresses hung, 
Her livid hands, like one that mourn'd, she wrung ; 
Then thus, with grief o'erwhelm'd her languid eyes, 
Savage, inhuman, cruel wretch ! (she cries ;) 794 

Whom nor a parent's strict commands could move, 
Though charg'd, and utter'd with the tears of love; 
Nor virgin innocence, nor all that's due 
To the strong contract of the nuptial vow: 
Virtue, by this, in wild confusion 's laid, 

BOOK VI. 151 

And I compell'd to wrong my sister's bed ; 800 

Whilst you, regardless of your marriage oath, 

With stains of incest have defil'd us both. 

Though I deserv'd some punishment to find, 

This was, ye gods, too cruel and unkind. 

Yet, villain, to complete your horrid guilt, g05 

Stab here, and let my tainted blood be spilt. 

O happy ! had it come, before I knew 

The curs'd embrace of vile perfidious you; 

Then my pale ghost, pure from incestuous love, , 

Had wander'd spotless through th' Elysian grove. 810 

But, if the gods above have pow'r to know, 

And judge those actions that are done below ; 

Unless the dreadful thunders of the sky, 

Like me, subdu'd and violated lie ; 

Still my revenge shall take its proper time, 815 

And suit the baseness of your hellish crime. 

Myself, abandon'd, and devoid of shame, 

Through the wide world your actions will proclaim ; 

Or though I'm prison'd in this lonely den, 

Obscur'd and buried from the sight of men, 820 

My mournful voice the pitying rocks shall move, 

And my complainings echo through the grove. 

Hear me, O Heav'n ! and if a god be there, 

Let him regard me, and accept my pray'r. 

Struck with these words, the tyrant's guilty breast 
With fear and anger was, by turns, possest ; 826 

Now, with remorse, his conscience deeply stung, 
He drew the falchion that beside him hung, 
And first her tender arms behind her bound, 
Then dragg'd her by the hair along the ground. 830 
The princess willingly her throat reclin'd, 
And view'd the steel with a contented mind ; 
But soon her tongue the girding pincers strain, 
With anguish, soon she feels the piercing pain : 
' O father ! father !' she would fain have spoke, 835 
But the sharp torture her intention broke ; 
In vain she tries, for now the blade has cut 
Her tongue sheer off, close to the trembling root. 
The mangled part still quiver'd on the ground, - 
Murmuring with a faint, imperfect sound : 840 

And, as a serpent writhes his wounded train, 


Uneasy, panting, and possess'd with pain ; 

The piece, while life remain'd, still trembled fast, 

And to its mistress pointed to the last. 

Yet, after this so damn'd and black a deed, 845 

Fame (which I scarce can credit) has agreed, 
That on her rifled charms, still void of shame, 
He frequently indulg'd his lustful flame. 
At last he ventures to his Procne's sight, 
Loaded with guilt, and cloy'd with long delight ; 850 
There, with feign'd grief, and false, dissembled sighs, 
Begins a formal narrative of lies; 
Her sister's death he artfully declares, 
Then weeps, and raises credit from his tears. 
Her vest, with fiow'rs of gold embroider'd o'er, 855 
With grief distress'd, the mournful matron tore, 
And a beseeming suit of gloomy sable wore. 
With cost, an honoraiy tomb she rais'd, 
And thus th' imaginary ghost appeas'd. 
Deluded queen! the fate of her you love, 8C0 

Nor grief, nor pity, but revenge should move. 

Though the twelve signs had pass'd the circling sun, 
And round the compass of the zodiac run : 
What must unhappy Philomela do, 
For ever subject to her keeper's view ? 865 

Huge walls of massy stone the lodge surround, 
From her own mouth no way of speaking's found. 
But all our wants by wit may be supply'd, 
And arts makes up what fortune has denied. 
With skill exact a Phrygian web she strung, 87fl 

Fix'd to a loom that in her chamber hung, 
Where in-wrought letters, upon white display'd. 
In purple notes, her wretched case betray 'd: 
The piece, when finish'd, secretly gave 
Into the charge of one poor menial slave ; 875 

And then, with gestures made him Understand, 
It must be safe convey'd to Procne's hand. 
The slave with speed the queen's apartment sought, 
And render'd up his charge, unknowing what he 

But when the ciphers, figur'd in each fold, '880 

Her sister's melancholy story told, 
(Strange that she could!) with silence she survey td 

BOOK VI. 153 

The tragic piece, and without weeping read: 

la such tumultuous haste her passions sprung. 

They chok'd her voice, and quite disarni'd her tongue. 

No room for female tears ; the furies rise, 8S6 

Darting vindictive glances from her eyes; 

And, stung with rage, she bounds from place to place, 

While stern revenge sits low'ring in her face. 

Now the triennial celebration came, 890 

Observ'd to Bacchus by each Thracian dame ; 
When, in tbe privacies of night retir'd, 
They act his rites, with sacred rapture fir'd : 
By night, the tinkling cymbals ring around, 
While the shrill notes from Rhodope resound; 895 
By night, the queen, disguis'd, forsakes the court, 
To mingle in the festival resort. 
Leaves of the curling vine her temples shade, 
And, with a circling wreath, adorn her head: 
Adown her back the stag's rough spoils appear, 900 
Light on her shoulder leans a cornel spear. 

Thus, in the fury of the god conceal'd, 
Procne her own imd headstrong passion veil'd; 
Now, with her gang, to the thick wood she flies, 
And with religious yellings fills the skies; 905 

The fatal lodge, as 'twere by chance, she seeks, 
And, through the bolted doors, an entrance breaks; 
From thence, her sister snatching by the hand, 
Mask'dlike the ranting Bacchanalian band, 
Within the limits of the court she drew, 910 

Shading, with ivy green, her outward hue. 
But Philomela, conscious of the place, 
Felt new reviving pangs of her disgrace; 
A shiv'ring cold prevail'd in ev'ry part, 
And the chill'd blood ran trembling to her heart. 915 

Soon as the queen a fit retirement found, 
Stript of the garlands that her temples crown'd, 
She straight unveil'd her blushing sister's face, 
And fondly clasp'd her with a close embrace : 
But, in confusion lost, th' unhappy maid, 920 

With shame dejected, hung her drooping head, 
As guilty of a crime that stain'd her sister's bed. 
That speech, that should her injur'd virtue clear 


And make her spotless innocence appear, 

Is now no more ; only her hands, and eyes 955 

Appeal, in signals, to the conscious skies. 

In Procne's breast the rising passions boil, 

And burst in anger with a madrecoil ; 

Her sister's ill-tim'd grief, with scorn, she blames, 

Then, in these furious words her rage proclaims : 930 

Tears, unavailing, but defer our time, 
The stabbing sword must expiate the crime ; 
Or worse, if wit, on bloody vengeance bent, 
A weapon more tormenting can invent. 
O sister! I've prepar'd my stubborn heart, 935 

To act some hellish, and unheard-of part; 
Either the palace to surround with fire, 
And see the villain in the flames expire ; 
Or, with a knife, dig out his cursed eyes, 
Or, his false tongue with racking engines seize ; OiO 
Or, cut away the part that injur'd you, 
And, through a thousand wounds,his guilty soul pursue. 
Tortures enough my passion has design'd, 
But the variety distracts my mind. 

Awhile, thus wav'ring, stood the furious dame, MS 
When Itys fondling to his mother came ; 
From him the cruel fatal hint she took, 
She view'd him with a stern remorseless look ; 
Ah' but too like thy wicked sire (she said), 
Forming the direful purpose in her head. 950 

At this a sullen grief her voice suppress'd, 
While silent passions struggle in her breast. 
Now, at her lap arriv'd, the rlatt'ring boy 
Salutes his parent with a smiling joy ; 
About her neck his little arms are thrown, 0;15 

And he accosts her in a prattling tone. 
Then her tempestuous anger was allay'd, 
And in its full career her vengeance stay'd ; 
While tender thoughts, in spite of passion, rise, 
And melting tears disarm her threat'ning eyes. 969 
But when she found the mother's easy heart, 
Too fondly swerving from th' intended part ; 
Her injur'd sister's face again she view'd : 
And, as by turns surveying both she stood, 
While this fond boy (she said) can thus express 9G5 

BOOK VI. 155 

The moving accents of his fond address ; 

Why stands my sister of her tongue bereft, 

Forlorn, and sad, in speechless silence left? 

O Procne, see the fortune of your house! 969 

Such is your fate, when raatch'd to such a spouse ! 

Conjugal duty, if observ'd to him, 

Would change from virtue, and become a crime : 

For all respect to Tereus must debase 

The noble blood of great Pandion's race. 074 

Straight at these words, with big resentment fill'd, 
Furious her look, she flew, and seiz'd her child ; 
Like a fell tigress of the savage kind, 
That drags the tender suckling of the hind 
Through India's gloomy groves, where Ganges laves 
The 6hady scene, and rolls his streamy waves. 980 

Now to a close apartment they were come, 
Far off retirM within the spacious dome; 
When Procne, on revengeful mischief bent, 
Home to his heart a piercing poniard sent. 
Itys, with rueful cries, but all too late, 985 

Holds out his hands, and deprecates his fate ; 
Still at his mother's neck he fondly aims, 
And strives to melt her with endearing names ; 
Yet still the cruel mother perseveres, 
Nor with concern his bitter anguish hears. 090 

This might suffice ; but Philomela too 
Across his throat a shining cutlass drew. 
Then both, with knives, dissect each quiv'ring part, 
And carve the butcher' d limbs with cruel art; 
Which whelm'd in boiling caldrons o'er the fire, 995 
Or turn'd on spits, in steamy smoke aspire : 
While the long entries, with their slipp'ry floor, 
Run down in purple streams of clotted gore. 

Ask'd by his wife to his inhuman feast, 
Tereus, unknowingly, is made a guest: 1000 

Whilst she, her plot the better to disguise, 
Styles it some unknown mystic sacrifice ; 
And such the nature of the hallow'd rite, 
The wife her husband only could invite, 1004 

The slaves must all withdraw, and be debarr'd the 
Tereus, upon a throne of antique state, [sight; 

Loftily rais'd, before the banquet sate ; 


And, glutton-like, luxuriously pleas'd, 

With his own flesh his hungry maw appeas'd. 

Nay, such a blindness o'er his senses falls, 1010 

That he for Itys to the table calls. 

When Procne, now impatient to disclose 

The joy that from her full revenge arose, 

Cries out, in transports of a cruel mind, 

' Within yourself your Itys you may find.' 1015 

Still at this puzzling answer with surprise, 

Around the room he winds his curious eyes ; 

And, as he still intpoir'd, and call'd aloud, 

Fierce Philomela, all besmear'd with blood, 1019 

Her hands with murder stain'd, her spreading hair 

Hanging disbevell'd, with a ghastly air, 

Stepp'd forth, and flung full in the tyrant's face 

The head of Itys, gory as it was : 

Nor ever long'd so much to use her tongue, 1024 

And, with a just reproach, to vindicate her wrong. 

The Thracian monarch from the table flings, 
While with his cries the vaulted parlour rings ; 
His imprecations echo down to hell, 
And rouse the snaky furies from their Stygian celL 
One while, he labours to disgorge his breast, 103O 

And free his stomach from the cursed feast; 
Then, weeping o'er his lamentable doom, 
He styles himself his son's sepulchral tomb. 
Now, with drawn sabre, and impetuous speed, 
In close pursuit he drives Pandion's breed ; 1035 

Whose nimble feet spring w^th so swift a force 
Across the fields, they seem to wing their course : 
And now, on real wings themselves they raise, 
And steer their airy flight by diff'rent ways: 
One to the woodlands shady covert hies, 1040 

Around the smoky roof the other flies ; 
Whose feathers yet the marks of murder stain, 
Where, stampt upon her breast, the crimson spots 
Tereus, through grief, and haste to be reveng'd, [remain. 
Shares the like fate, and to a bird is chang'd: 1045 
Fix'd on his head, the crested plumes appear, 
Long is his beak, and sharpen'd like a spear ; 
Thus arm'd, his looks his inward mind display. 
And, to a lapwiag turn'd, he fans his way. 

BOOK VI. 157 

Exceeding trouble, for his children's fate, 1050 

Shorten'd Pandion's days, and chang'dhis date, 
Down to the shades .below, with sorrow spent, 
An early, unexpected ghost he went. 

Erectheus next th' Athenian sceptre sway'd, 
Whose rule the state with joint consent obeyed; 1055 
So mix'd his justice with his valour flow'd, 
His reign one scene of princely goodness shewM. 
Four hopeful youths, as many females bright, 
Sprang from his loins, and sooth'd him with delight. 

Two of these sisters, of a lovely air, 10€(? 

Excell'd the rest, though all the rest were fair. 
Procris, to Cephalus in wedlock tied, 
Bless'd the young Sylvan with a blooming bride: 
For Orithyia Boreas suffered pain, 
For the coy maid sued long, but sued in vain ; 1065 
Tereus his neighbour, and his Thracian blood, 
Against the match a main objection stood ; 
Which made his vows, and all his suppliant love, 
Empty as air, and ineffectual prove. 

But when he found his soothing flatt'ries fail, 1070 
Nor saw his soft addresses could avail ; 
Blust'ring with ire, he quickly has recourse 
To rougher arts, and his own native force. 

'Tis well (he said) : such usage is my due, 
When thus disguis'd by foreign ways I sue; 1075 

When my stern airs, and fierceness I disclaim, 
And sigh for love ridiculously tame ; 
When soft addresses foolishly I try, 
Nor my own stronger remedies apply. 
By force and violence I chiefly live, 1080 

By them the low'ring stormy tempests drive ; 
In foaming billows raise the hoary deep, 
Writhe knotted oaks, and sandy deserts sweep, 
Congeal the falling flakes of fleecy snow, 
And bruise, with rattling hail, the plains below. 1085 
I, and my brother-winds, when join'd above, 
Through the waste champaign of the skies we rove, 
With such a boist'rous full career engage, 
That heav'n's whole concave thunders at our rage. 
While struckfrom nitrous clouds, fierce lightningsplay, 


Dart through the storm, and gild the gloomy day. 

Or when, in subterraneous caverns pent, 

My breath against the hollow earth is bent, 

The quaking world above, and ghosts below, 

My mighty pow'r, by dear experience, know, 1095 

Tremble with fear, and dread the fatal blow. 

This is the only cure to be applied, 

Thus to Erectheus I should be allied; 

And thus the scornful virgin should be woo'd, 

Not by intreaty, but by force subdu'd. 1100 

Boreas, in passion, spoke these huffing things, 
And, as he spoke, he shook his dreadful wings; 
At which, afar, the shiv'ring sea was fann'd, 
And the wide surface of the distant land : 
His dusty mantle o'er the hills he drew, 1105 

And swept the lowly valleys, as he flew ; 
Then, with his yellow wings, embrac'd the maid, 
And, wrapt in dusky clouds, far off convey'd. 
The sparkling blaze of love's prevailing fire 1110 

Shone brighter as he flew, and flam'd the higher. 
And now the god, possest of his delight, 
To northern Thrace pursu'd his airy flight, 
Where the young ravish'd nymph became his bride, 
And soon the luscious sweets of wedlock try'd. 

Two lovely twins, th' effect of this embrace-, 1115 
Crown their soft labours, and their nuptials grace; 
Who, like their mother, beautiful and fair, 
Their father's strength, and feather'd pinions share : 
Yet these, at first, were wanting, as 'tis said, 
And after, as they grew, their shoulders spread. 1120 
Zethes and Calais, the pretty twins, 
Remain'd unfledg'd, while smooth their beardless chins ; 
But when, in time, the budding silver down 
Shaded their face, and on their cheeks was grown, 
Two sprouting wings upon their shoulders sprung, 
Like those in birds that veil the callow young. 1126 
Then as their age advanc'd, and they began 
From greener youth to ripen into man, 
With Jason's Argonauts they cross'd the seas, 
Embark'd in quest of the fam'd golden fleece ; 1130 
There, with the rest, the first frail vessel try'd, 
And boldly ventur'd on the swelling tide. 




The story of Medea and Jason. The dragon's teeth transformed 
to men. Old /Eson restored to youth. The ileath of Pelias. 
The story of iEgeus. The story of ants changed to men. The 
story of Cephiiius and Procris. 

The Argonauts now stemmed the foaming tide, 
And to Arcadia's shore their course apply'd : 
Where sightless Phineus spent his age in grief, 
But Boreas' sons engage in his relief; 
And those unwelcome guests, the odious race 5 

Of Harpies, from the monarch's table chase. 
With Jason then they greater toils sustain, 
And Phasis' slimy banks at last they gain. 

Here boldly they demand the golden prize 
Of Scythia's king, who sternly thus replies, 10 

That mighty labours they must first o'ercome, 
Or sail their Argo thence unfreighted home. 

Meanwhile Medea, seiz'd with fierce desire, 
By reason strives to quench the raging fire ; 
But strives in vain! — Some god (she said) withstands , 
And reason's baffled counsel countermands. 16 

What unseen pow'r does this disorder move? 
'Tis love, at least 'tis like what men call love, 
Else wherefore should the king's commands appear 
To me too hard ? — But so indeed they are. 20 

Why should I for a stranger fear, lest he 
Should perish, whom I did but lately see ? 
His death or safety, what are they to me ? 
Wretch, from thy virgin breast this flame expel, 
And soon — O, could I, all would then be well; 25 
But love, resistless love, my soul invades ; 
Discretion this, affection that persuades. 
1 see the right, and I approve it too ; 
Condemn the wrong, and yet the wrong pursue. 
Why, royal maid, shouldst thou desire to wed 30 

A wanderer, and court a foreign bed 1 
Thy native land, though barb'rous, can present 
A bridegroom worth a royal bride's consent; 


And whether this advent'rer lives or dies, 

In fate, and fortune's fickle pleasure lies. 35 

Yet may he live ! for to the pow'rs above, 

A virgin led by no impulse of love, 

So just a suit may, for the guiltless, move. 

Whom would not Jason's valour, youth, and blood 

Invite 1 or could these merits be withstood, 40 

At least his charming person must incline 

The hardest heart — I'm sure 'tis so with mine! 

Yet, if I help him not, the flaming breath 

Of bulls, and earth-born foes, must be his death ; 

Or, should he through these dangers force his way, 

At last he must be made the dragon's prey. 46 

If no remorse for such distress I feel, 

I am a tigress, and my breast is steel. 

Why do I scruple then to see him slain, 

And with the tragic scene my eyes profane ? 50 

By magic's art employ, not to assuage 

The savages, but to inflame their rage 1 

His earth-born foes to fiercer fury move, 

And accessary to his murder prove? 

The gods forbid ! — But pray'rs are idle breath, 55 

When action only can prevent his death. 

Shall I betray my father, and the state, 

To intercept a rambling hero's fate ; 

Who may sail off nex.t hour, and sav'd from hann? , 

By my assistance, bless another's arms? 60 

Whilst I, not only of my hopes bereft, 

But to unpity'd punishment am left. 

If he is false, let the ungrateful bleed! 

But no such symptom in his looks I read. 

Nature would ne'er have lavish'd so much grace 65 

Upon his person, if his soul were base. 

Besides, he first shall plight his faith, and swear 

By all the gods; what, therefore, canst thou fear? 

Medea, haste, from danger set him free, 

Jason shall thy eternal debtor be ; 70 

And thou, his queen, with sov'reign state install'd, 

By Grecian dames the kind preserver call'd. 

Hence, idle dreams, by love-sick fancy bred! 

Wilt thou, Medea, by vain wishes led, 

To sister, brother, father bid adieu 1 75 


Forsake thy country's gods, and country too? 

My father's harsh, my brother but a child, 

My sister rivals me, my country's wild ; 

And for its gods, the greatest of them all 

Inspires my breast, and I obey his call. 80 

That great endearments I forsake, is true; 

But greater far the hopes that I pursue : 

The pride of having sav'd the youths of Greece 

(Each life more precious than our golden fleece), 

A nobler soil by me shall be possest, 85 

I shall see towns with arts and manners blest ; 

And, what I prize above the world beside, 

Enjoy my Jason; — and, when once his bride, 

Be more than mortal, and to gods allied. 

They talk of hazards I must first sustain; DO 

Of floating islands justling in the main ; 

Our tender bark expos' d to dreadful shocks 

Of fierce Charybdis' gulf, and Scylla's rocks, 

Where breaking waves in whirling eddies roll, 

And rav'nous dogs, that in deep caverns howl : 95 

Amidst these terrors, while I lie possest 

Of him 1 love, and lean on Jason's breast, 

In tempests unconcern'd I will appear, 

Or, only for my husband's safety fear. — 

Didst thou say husband? Canst thou so deceive 100 

Thyself, fond maid, and thy own cheat believe ? 

In vain thou striv'st to varnish o'er thy shame, 

And grace thy guilt with wedlock's sacred name. 

Pull off the coz'ning mask; and oh! in time 

Discover, and avoid the fatal crime. 105 

She ceas'd ;— the Graces now, with kind surprise, 
And virtue's lovely train, before her eyes 
Present themselves, and vanquish'd Cupid flies. 
She then retires to Hecate's shrine, that stood 
Far in the covert of a shady wood: 110 

She finds the fury of her flames assuag'd, 
But, seeing Jason there, again they rag'd. 
Blushes and paleness did by turns invade 
Her tender cheeks, and secret grief betray'd. 
As fire, that sleeping under ashes lies, 115 

Fresh blown, and rous'd, does up in blazes rise, 
So flamM the virgin's breast, 


New kindled by her lover's sparkling eyes. 

For chance, that day had, with uncommon grace, 

Adorn'd the lovely youth, and through his face 120* 

Display 'd an air so pleasing, as might charm 

A goddess, and a vestal's bosom warm. 

Her ravish'd eyes survey him o'er and o'er, 

As some gay wonder never seen before ; 

Transported to the skies she seems to be, 125 

And thinks she gazes on a deity. 

But, when he spoke, and press'd her trembling hand, 

And did with tender words her aid demand, 

With vows, and oaths to make her soon his bride, 

She wept a flood of tears, and thus reply'd : 130 

I see my error, yet to ruin move, 
Nor owe my fate to ignorance, but love: 
Your life I'll guard, and only crave of you 
To swear once more, — and to your oath be true. 

He swears by Hecate, be would all fulfil, 135 

And by her grandfather's prophetic skill, 
By ev'ry thing that doubting love could press, 
His present danger, and desir'd success. 
She credits him, and kindly does produce 
Enchanted herbs, and teaches him their use; 140 

Their mystic names, and virtues he admires, 
And, with his booty joyfully retires. 

Impatient for the wonders of the day, 
Aurora drives the loit'ring stars away. 
Now Mars's Mount the pressing people fill, 145 

The crowd below, the nobles crown the hill; 
The king himself high thron'd above the rest, 
With iv'ry sceptre, and in purple drest. 

Forthwith the brass-hoof'd bulls are set at large, 
Whose furious nostrils sulph'rous flame discharge ; 
The blasted herbage by their breath expires; 151 

As forges rumble with excessive fires, 
And furnaces with fiercer fury glow, 
When water on the panting mass ye throw ; 
With such a noise from their convulsive breast, 155 
Thro' bellowing throats the struggling vapour press'd. 

Yet Jason marches up, without concern, 
While on th' advent'rous youth the monsters turn, 

BOOK VII. 163 

Their glaring eyes, and eager to engage 159 

Brandish their steel-tipt horns in threat'ning rage : 
With brazen hoofs they beat the ground, and choke 
The ambient air, with clouds of dust and smoke : 
Each gazing Grecian for his champion shakes, 
While bold advances he securely makes 
Through singing blasts; such wonders magic art 165 
Can work, when love conspires, and play3 his part. 
The passive savages like statues stand, 
While he their dewlaps strokes with soothing hand ; 
To unknown yokes their brawny necks they yield, 
And, like tame oxen, plough the wond'ring field. 17© 
The Colchians stare ; the Grecians shout, and raise 
Their champion's courage with inspiring praise. 
Embolden 'd now, on fresh attempts he goes, 
With serpent's teeth the fertile furrows sows ; 
The glebe, fermenting with enchanted juice, 175 

Makes the snake's teeth a human crop produce. 
For as an infant, pris'ner to the womb, 
Contented sleeps, till to perfection come, 
Then does the cell's obscure confinement scorn, 
He tosses, throbs, and presses to be born ; 180 

So, from the lab'ring earth no single birth, 
But a whole troop of lusty youths rush forth; 
And, what's more strange, with martial fury warm'd, 
And for encounter all completely arm'd ; 
In rank and file, as they were sow'd, they stand, 185 
Impatient for the signal of command. 
No foe but the yEmonian youth appears ; 
At him they level their steel-pointed spears; 
His frighted friends, who triumph'd just before, 
With peals of sighs his desp'rate case deplore : 190 
And, where such hardy warriors are afraid, 
What must the tender and enamour'd maid ? 
Her spirits sink, the blood her cheek forsook, 
She fears, who for his safety undertook : 
She knew the virtue of the spoils she gave, 195 

She knew their force, and knew her lover brave ; 
But what's a single champion to a host? 
Yet scorning thus to see him tamely lost. 
Her strong reserve of secret arts she brings, 
And last, her never-failing song she sings. 200 


Wonders ensue; among his gazing foes 

The massy fragment of a rock he throws ; 

This charm in civil war engag'd 'em all ; 

By mutual wounds those earth-born brothers fall. 

The Greeks, transported with the strange success, 

Leap from their seats, the conqu'ror to caress; 206 

Commend and kiss, and clasp him in their arms : 

So would the kind contriver of the charms; 

But her, who felt the tenderest concern, 

Honour condemns in secret flames to burn; 210 

Committed to a double guard of fame, 

Aw'd by a virgin's, and a princess' name. 

But thoughts are free, and fancy unconfin'd, 

She kisses, courts, and hugs him in her mind ; 

To fav'ring pow'rs her silent thanks she gives, 215 

By whose indulgence her lov'd hero lives. 

One labour more remains, and, though the last, 
In danger far surmounting all the past; 
That enterprize by fates in store was kept, 
To make the dragon sleep, that never slept, 220 

Whose crest shoots dreadful lustre; from his jaws 
A triple tire of forked stings he draws, 
With fangs, and wings of a prodigious size: 
Such was the guardian of the golden prize. 
Yet him, besprinkled with Lethean dew, 225 

The fair enchantress into slumber threw ; 
And then to fix him, thrice she did repeat 
The rhyme that makes the raging winds retreat; 
In stormy seas can halcyon seasons make, 
Turn rapid streams into a standing lake ; 230 

While the soft guest his drowsy eye-lids seals, 
Th' unguarded golden fleece the stranger steals ; 
Proud to possess the purchase of his toil, 
Proud of.his royal bride, the richer spoil; 
To sea both prize and patroness he bore, 235 

And lands triumphant on his native shore. 

./Emonian matrons, who their absence mourn'd, 
Rejoice to see their prosp'rous sons return'd: 
Rich curling fumes of incense feast the skies, 
An hecatomb of voted victims dies, 240 

With gilded horns, and garlands on their head, 

BOOK YII. 135 

And all the pomp of death, to th' altar led. 
Congratulating bowls go briskly round, 
Triumphant shouts in louder music drown'd. 
Amidst these revels, why that cloud of care 245 

On Jason's brow? (to whom the largest share 
Of mirth was due:) — His father was not there. 
iEson was absent, once the young, and brave, 
Now crush'd with years, and bending to the grave. 
At last withdrawn, and by the crowd unseen, 250 
(Pressing her hand, with starting sighs between), 
He supplicates his kind and skilful queen : 

O patroness ! preserver of my life ! 
(Dear when my mistress, and much dearer wife,) 
Your favours to so vast a sum amount, 255 

'Tis past the pow'rs of numbers to recount; 
Or could they be to cotnputation brought, 
The history would a romance be thought : 
And yet, unless you add one favour more, 
Greater than all that you conferral before, 260 

But not too hard for love and magic skill. 
Your past are thrown away, and Jason's wretched still. 
The morning of my life is just begun ; 
But my declining father's race is run : 
From my large stock retrench the long arrears, 205 
And add them to expiring iEson's years. 

Thus spake the gen'rous youth, and wept the rest : 
Mov'd with the piety of his request, 
To his ag'd sire such filial duty shewn, 
So diff'rent from her treatment of her own, 270 

But still endeav'ring her remorse to hide, 
She check'd her rising sighs, and thus reply'd : 

How could the thought of such inhuman wrong 
Escape (said she) from pious Jason's tongue? 
Does the whole world another Jason bear, 275 

Whose life Medea can to yours prefer? 
Or could I with so dire a change dispense, 
Hecate will never join in that offence : 
Unjust is the request you make, and I, 
In kindness, your petition shall deny : 280 

Yet she that grants not what you do implore, 
Shall yet essay to give her Jason more ; 


Find means t' increase the stock of iEson's years, 
Without retrenchment of your life's arrears; 
Provided that the triple goddess join 285 

A strong confed'rate in my bold design. 

Thus was her enterprise resolv'd : but still 
Three tedious nights are wanting to fulfil 
The circling crescents of th' increasing moon ; 
Then, in the height of her nocturnal noon, 290 

Medea steals from court ; her ancles bare, 
Her garments closely girt, but loose her hair; 
Thus sally'd, like a solitary sprite, 
She traverses the terrors of the night. 

Men, beasts, and birds in soft repose lay charm'd, 295 
No boist'rous wind the mountain-woods alarm'd; 
Nor did those walks of love, the myrtle trees, 
Of am'rous Zephyr hear the whisp'ring breeze ; 
All elements chain'd in unactive rest, 
No sense but what the twinkling stars express' d ; 300 
To them (that only wak'd) she rears her arms, 
And thus commences her mysterious charms. 

She turn'd her thrice about, as oft she threw 
On her pale tresses the nocturnal dew ; 
Then, yelling thrice a most enormous sound, 305 

Her bare knee bended on the flinty ground, 
O night (said she), thou confident and guide 
Of secrets, such as darkness ought to hide ; 
Ye stars and moon, that when the sun retires, 
Support his empire with succeeding fires; 310 

And thou, great Hecate, friend to my design; 
Songs, mutt'ring spells, your magic forces join ; 
And thou, O earth, the magazine that yields 
The midnight sorceror drugs; skies, mountains, fields; 
Ye wat'ry pow'rs of fountain, stream, and lake ; 315 
Ye sylvan gods, and gods of night, awake, 
And gen'rously your parts in my adventure take ! 
Oft, by your aid, swift currents I have led 
Thro* wand'ring banks, back to their fountain head ; 
Transform' d the prospect, of the briny deep, 320 

Made sleeping billows rave, and raving billows sleep; 
Made clouds, or sunshine ; tempests rise, or fall; 
And stubborn lawless winds obey my call : 

BOOK VII. 167 

With mutter'd words disarm'd the viper's jaw, 

Up by the roots vast oaks and rocks could draw; 325 

Made forests dance, and trembling mountains come, 

Like malefactors to receive their doom ; 

Earth groan, and frighted ghosts forsake their tomb. 

Thee, Cynthia, my resistless rhymes drew down, 

When tinkling cymbals strove my voice to drown ; 

Nor stronger Titan could their force sustain, 331 

In full career compell'd to stop his wain: 

Nor could Aurora's virgin blush avail, 

With pois'nous herbs I turn'd her roses pale ; 

The fury of the fiery bulls I broke, 335 

Their stubborn necks submitting to my yoke ; 

And when the sons of earth with fury burn'd, 

Their hostile rage upon themselves I turn'd; 

The brothers made with mutual wounds to bleed, 

And by their fatal strife, my lover freed ; 340 

And, while the dragon slept, to distant Greece, 

Through cheated guards convey'd the golden fleece : 

But now to bolder action I proceed, 

Of such prevailing juices now have need, 

That wither'd years back to their bloom can bring, 

And in dead winter raise a second spring. 346 

And you'll perform 't ; 

You will : for lo ! the stars with sparkling fires, 
Presage as bright success to my desires : 
And now another happy omen see ! 350 

A chariot drawn by dragons, waits for me. 

With these last words, she leaps into the wain, 
Strokes the snakes' necks, and shakes the golden rein. 
That signal giv'n, they mount her to the skies, 
And now beneath her fruitful Tempe lies, 355 

Whose stores she ransacks, then to Crete she flies; 
There Os9a, Pelion, Othrys, Pindus, all 
To the fair ravisher a booty fall ; 
The tribute of their verdure she collects, 
Nor proud Olympus' height his plants protects. 3GQ 
Some by the roots she plucks ; the tender tops 
Of others with her culling sickle crops. 
Nor could the plunder of the hills suffice, 
Down to the humble vales and meads she Mes ; 


Apidarnus, Amphrysus, the next rape 305 

Sustain, nor could Enipeus' banks escape; 
Through Beebe's marsh,andthrough the border rang'd, 
Whose pasture Glaucus to a Triton chang'd. 
. Now the ninth day, and ninth successive night, 
Had wonder'd at the restless rover's flight ; 370 

Meanwhile her dragons fed with no repast, 
But her exhaling simples' od'rous blast, 
Their tarnish'd scales, and wrinkled skins had cast. 
At last return'd before her palace gate, 
Quitting her chariot, on the ground she sate, 375 

The sky her only canopy of state. 
All conversation with her sex she fled, 
Shunn'd the caresses of the nuptial bed : 
Two altars next of grassy turf she rears, 379 

This Hecate's name, that Youth's inscription bears : 
With forest-boughs, and vervain these she crown'd; 
Then delves a double trench in lower ground, 
And sticks a black-fleec'd ram, that ready stood, 
And drench'd the ditches with devoted blood : 384 
New wine she pours, and milk from th' udder 

With mystic murmurs to complete the charm, 
And subterranean deities alarm. 
To the stern king of ghosts she next apply'd, 
And gentle Proserpine, his ravish'd bride, 
That for old JEsoa with the laws of f..te 300 

They would dispense, and lengthen his short date : 
Thus with repeated pray'rs she long assails 
Th' infernal tyrant, and at last prevails ; 
Then calls to have decrepit iEson brought, 
And stupifies him with a sleeping draught ; 396 

On earth his body like a corse extends, 
Then charges Jason and his waiting friends 
To quit the place, that no unhallow'd eye 
Into her arts forbidden secrets pry. 
This done, th' enchantress, with her locks unbound, 
About her altars trips a frantic round ; 401 

Piece-meal the consecrated wood she splits, 
And dips the splinters in the bloody pits, 
Then hurls 'em on the piles; the sleeping sire 
She lustrates thrice, with sulphur, water, fire. 405 

BOOK VII. 169 

In a large caldron now the med'cine boils, 
Compounded of her late collected spoils, 
Blending into the mash the various pow'rs 
Of wonder-working juices, roots, and flow'rs ; 
With gems i' th' eastern ocean's cell refin'd, 410 

And such as ebbing tides had left behind ; 
To them the midnight's pearly dew she flings 
A screech-owl's carcase, and ill boding wings; 
Nor could the wizard wolf's warm entrails 'scape 
(That wolf who counterfeits a human shape). 415 

Then, from the bottom of her conj'ring bag, 
Snakes' skins, and liver of a long-liv'd stag; 
Last a crow's head to such an age arriv'd, 
That he had now nine centuries surviv'd ; 
These, and with these a thousand more that grew 420 
In sundry soils, into her pot she threw; 
Then with a wither'd olive-bough she rakes 
The bubbling broth ; the bough, fresh verdure takes ; 
Green leaves at first the perish'd plant surround, 
Which the next minute with ripe fruit were crown'd. 
The foaming juices now the brink o'er-swell ; 426 

The barren heath, where'er the liquor fell, 
Sprang out with vernal grass, and all the pride 
Of blooming May. — When this, Medea spy'd, 
She cuts her patient's throat ; th' exhausted blood 
Recruiting with her new enchanted flood ; 431 

While at his mouth, and through his op'ning wound, 
A double inlet her infusion found ; 
His feeble frame resumes a youthful air, 
A glossy brown his hoary beard and hair, 435 

The meagre paleness from his aspect fled, 
And in its room sprang up a florid red ; 
Through all his limbs a youthful vigour flies, 
His emptied art'ries swell with fresh supplies : 
Gazing spectators scarce believe their eyes. 440 

But iEson is the most surpris'd to find 
A happy change in body and in mind ; 
In sense and constitution the same man, 
As when his fortieth active year began. 

Bacchus, who from the clouds this wonder view'd, 
Medea's method instantly pursu'd, 446 

And his indulgent nurse's youth renew'd. 


Thus far obliging love employ'd her art, 
But now revenge must act a tragic part. 
Medea feigns a mortal quarrel bred 450 

Betwixt her and the partner of her bed ; 
On this pretence, to Pelias' court she flies, 
Who languishing with age and sickness lies: 
His guiltless daughters, with inveigling wiles, 
And well-dissembled friendship she beguiles : 455 

The strange achievements of her art she tells, 
With yEson's cure, and long on that she dwells, 
Till them to firm persuasion she has won, 
The same for their old father may be done : 
For him they court her to employ her skill, 460 

And put upon the cure what price she will. 
At fust she's mute, and with a grave pretence 
Of difficulty, holds them in suspense; 
Then promises, and bids them from the fold 
Choose out a ram, the most infirm and old ; 4G5 

That so by fact their doubts may be remov'd, 
And first, on him, the operation prov'd. 

A wreath-horn'd ram is brought, so far o'ergrowu 
With years, his age was to that age unknown ; 
Of sense too dull the piercing point to feel, 470 

And scarce sufficient blood to stain the steel. 
His carcase she into a caldron threw, 
With drugs whose vital qualities she knew ; 
His limbs grew less, he casts his horns and years, 
And tender bleating strike their wond'ring ears. 475 
Then instantly leaps forth a frisking lamb, 
That seeks (too young to graze) a suckling dam. 
The sisters, thus confirm'd v ith the success, 
Her promise with renew'd entreaty press; 
To countenance the cheat, three nights and days 480 
Before experiment th' enchantress stays ; 
Then into limpid water, from the springs, 
Weeds, and ingredients of no force she flings; 
With antique ceremonies for pretence, 
And rambling rhymes without a word of sense. 485 
Meanwhile the king with all his guards lay bound 
In magic sleep, scarce that of death so sound ; 
The daughters now are by the sorceress led 
Into his chamber, and surround his bed. 

BOOK VII. 171 

Your father's health's concern'd, and can ye stay 1 490 

Unnat'ral nymphs, why this unkind delay? 

Unsheath your swords, dismiss his lifeless blood, 

And I'll recruit it with a vital flood : 

Your father's life and health are in your hand, 

And can ye thus, like idle gazers stand? 495 

Unless you are of common sense bereft, 

If yet one spark of piety is left, 

Dispatch a father's cure, and disengage 

The monarch from his toilsome load of age: 

Come, drench your weapons in his putrid gore ; 500 

Tis charity to wound, when wounding will restore. 

Thus urg'd, the poor deluded maids proceed, 
Betray'd by zeal to an inhuman deed, 
And, in compassion, make a father bleed. 
Yes, she who had the kindest, tend'rest heart, 505 
Is foremost to perform the bloody part. 

Yet, though to act the butchery betray'd, 
They could not bear to see the wounds they made; 
With looks averted, backward they advance, 
Then strike, and stab, and leave the blows to chance. 

Waking in consternation, he essays 511 

(Welt'ring in blood) his feeble arms to raise: 
Envirou'd with so many swords — From whence 
This barb'rous usage ? What js my offence ? 
What fatal fury, what infernal charm, 515 

'Gainst a kind father does his daughters arm? 

Hearing his voice, as thunder-struck, they stopp'd 
Their resolution, and their weapons dropp'd : 
Medea then the mortal blow bestows, 
And, that perform'd, the tragic scene to close, 520 
His corse into the boiling caldron throws. 

Then, dreading the revenge that must ensue, 
High mounted on her dragon-coach she flew ; 
And in her stately progress through the skies, 
Beneath her shady Pelion first she spies, 525 

With Othrys, that above the clouds did rise; 
With skilful Chiron's cave, and neighb'ring ground, 
For old Cerambus' strange escape renown'd, 
By nymphs deliver'd, when the world was drown'd ; 
Who him with unexpected wings supply'd, 530 

When delug'd hills a safe retreat deny'd. 


iEolian Pitane on her left hand 

She saw, and there the statued dragon stand; 

With Ida's grove, where Bacchus, to disguise 

His son's bold theft, and to secure the prize, 635 

Made the stol'n steer a stag to represent 

Cocytus' father's sandy monument ; 

And fields that held the murder'd sire's remains, 

Where howling Msera frights the startled plains. 

Euryphilus' high town, with tow'rs defac'd 540 

By Hercules, and matrons more disgrac'd 

With sprouting horns, in signal punishment, 

From Juno, or resenting Venus sent. 

Then Rhodes, which Phcebus did so dearly prize, 

And Jove no less severely did chastise ; 545 

For he the wizard native's pois'ning sight, 

That us'd the farmer's hopeful crops to blight, 

In rage o'erwhelm'd with everlasting night. 

Carthe'ia's ancient walls come next in view, 

Where once the sire almost a stature grew 550 

With wonder, which a strange event did move, 

His daughter turn'd into a turtle-dove. 

Then Hyrie's lake, and Tempe's field o'er-ran, 

Fam'd for the boy who there became a swan ; 

For there enamour'd Phyllius, like a slave, 555 

Perform'd what tasks his paramour would crave. 

For presents he had mountain-vultures caught, 

And from the desert a tame lion brought; 

Then a wild bull commanded to subdue, 

The conquer'd savage by the horns he drew; 560 

But, mock'd so oft, the treatment he disdains, 

And from the craving boy this prize detains. 

Then thus in choler the resenting lad : 

Won't you deliver him? you'll wish you had: 

Nor sooner said, but, in a peevish mood, 5C5 

Leapt from the precipice on which he stood : 

The standers by were struck with fresh surprise, 

Instead of falling, to behold him rise 

A snowy swan, and soaring to the skies. 

But dearly the rash prank his mother cost, 570 

Who ignorantly gave her son for lost ; 
For his misfortune wept, till she became 
A lake, and still renown'd with Hyrie's name. 

BOOK VII. 173 

Thence to Latona's isle, where once was seen, 
Transform'*! to birds, a monarch, and his queen. 575 
Far off she saw how old Cephisus mourn'd 
His son, into a seal by Phoebus turn'd; 
And where, astonish'd at a stranger sight, 
Eumelus gaz'd on his wing'd daughter's flight. 

iEtolian Pleuron she did next survey, 580 

Where sons a mother's murder did essay, 
But sudden plumes the matron bore away. 
On her right hand, Cyllene, a fair soil, 
Fair, till Menephron there the beauteous hill 
Attempted with foul incest to defile. 585 

Her harness'd dragons now direct she drives 
For Corinth, and at Corinth she arrives ; 
Where, if what old tradition tells be true, 
In former ages men from mushrooms grew. 

But here Medea finds her bed supplied, 590 

During her absence, by another bride ; 
And hopeless to recover her lost game, 
She sets both bride and palace in a flame. 
Nor could a rival's death her wrath assuage, 
Nor stopp'd at Creon's family her rage; 595 

She murders her own infants, in despite 
To faithless Jason, and in Jason's sight; 
Yet ere his sword could reach her, up she springs, 
Securely mounted on her dragon's wings. 

From hence to Athens she directs her flight, 600 
Where Phineus, so renown'd for doing right; 
Where Periphas, and Polyphemon's niece, 
Soaring with sudden plumes, amaz'd the towns of 

Here ^Egeus so engaging she address'd, [Greece. 
That first he treats her like a royal guest : 605 

Then takes the sorceress for his wedded wife ; 
The only blemish of his prudent life. 

Meanwhile his son, from actions of renown, 
Arrives at court, but to his sire unknown. 
Medea, to dispatch a dang'rous heir 610 

(She knew him), did a pois'nous draught prepare; 
Drawn from a drug, was long reserved in store 
For desp'rate uses, from the Scythian shore; 
That from the Echydnsean monster's jaws 
Deriv'd its origin, and this the cause. 615 


Through a dark cave a craggy passage lies, 
To ours, ascending from the nether skies; 
Through which, by strength of hand, Alcides drew 
Chain'd Cerberus, who lagg'd, and restive grew, 
With his blear'd eyes our brighter day to view. 620 
Thrice he repeated his enormous yell, 
With which he scares the ghosts, and startles hell; 
At last outrageous (though compell'd to yield) 
He sheds his foam in fury on the field ; 
Which, with its own, and rankness of the ground, 625 
Produc'd a weed, by sorcerers renown'd, 
The strongest constitution to confound ; 
Call'd Aconite, because it can unlock 
All bars, and force its passage through a rock. 

The pious father, by her wheedles won, 630 

Presents this deadly potion to his son ; 
Who, with the same assurance, takes the cup, 
And to the monarch's health had drank it up, 
But in the very instant he apply'd 
The goblet to his lips, old iEgeus spy'd 635 

The iv'ry hilted sword that grac'd his side. 
The certain signal of his son he knew, 
And snatch'd the bowl away ; the sword he drew, 
Resolv'd, for such a son's endanger'd life, 
To sacrifice the most perfidious wife. 640 

Revenge is swift, but her more active charms 
A whirlwind rais'd, that snatch'd her from his arms. 
While conjur'd clouds their baffled sense surprise, 
She vanishes from their deluded eyes, 
And through the hurricane triumphant flies. 645 

The gen'rous king, although o'erjoy'd to find 
His son was safe, yet bearing still in mind 
The mischief by his ti-each'rous queen design'd; 
The horror of the deed, and then how near 
The danjrer drew, he stands congealM with fear. G50 
But soon that fear into devotion turns, 
With grateful incense ev'ry altar burns; 
Proud victims! and unconscious of their fate, 
Stalk to the temple, there to die in state. 
In Athens never had a day been found 655 

For mirth, like that grand festival, renown'd. 
Promiscuously the peers and people dine, 

BOOK VII. 175 

Promiscuously their thankful voices join, 

In songs of wit, sublim'd by sprightly wine. 

To list'ning spheres their joint applause they raise, 060 

And thus resound their matchless Theseus' praise : 

' Great Theseus ! thee the Marathonian plain 
Admires, and wears with pride their noble stain 
Of the dire monster's blood, by valiant Theseus slain ; 
That now Cromyon's swains in safety sow, G65 

And reap their fertile field, to thee they owe, 
By thee th* infested Epidaurian coast 
Was clear'd, and now can a free commerce boast. 
The traveller his journey can pursue, 
With pleasure the late dreaded valley view, 670 

And cry, Here Theseus the grand robber slew. 
Cephysus' flood cries to his rescu'd shore, 
The merciless Procrustes is no more. 
In peace, Eleusis, Ceres' rites renew, 
Since Theseus' sword the fierce Cercyon slew. 675 
By him the tort'rer Sinis was destroy'd, 
Of strength (but strength to barb'rous use employ'd) 
That tops of tallest pines to earth could bend, 
And thus, in pieces, wretched captives rend. 
Inhuman Scyron now has breath'd his last, 680 

And now Alcatho's road's securely past, 
By Theseus slain, and thrown into the deep: 
But earth nor sea his scatter'd bones would keep, 
Which, after floating long, a rock became, 
Still infamous with Scyron's hated name. 685 

When fame to count thy acts and years proceeds, 
Thy years appear but ciphers to thy deeds. 
For thee, brave youth, as for our common wealth, 
We pray ; and drink, in yours, the public health. 
Your praise the senate, and plebeians sing; 690 

With your lov'd name the court and cottage ring. 
You make our shepherds and our sailors glad, 
And not a house in this vast city's sad.' 

But mortal bliss will never come sincere, 
Pleasure may lead, but grief brings up the rear; 605 
While for his son's arrival, rev'ling joy 
iEgeus, and all his subjects, does employ; 
While they for only costly feasts prepare, 
His neighb'ring monarch, Minos, threatens war : 


Weak in land forces, nor by sea more strong, 700 

But pow'rful in a deep-resented wrong 

For a son's murder, arm'd with pious rage ; 

Yet prudently, before he would engage, 

To raise auxiliaries resolv'd to sail, 

And wish the pow'rful princes to prevail. 705 

First Anaphe, then proud Astypala?a gains, 
By presents that, and this by threats obtains. 
Low Mycone, Cymolus, chalky soil, 
Tall Cythnos, Scyros, flat Seriphos' isle; 
Paros, with marble cliffs afar display'd; 710 

Impregnable Sithonia ; yet betray'd 
To a weak foe, by a gold-admiring maid, 
Who, chang'd into a daw of sable hue, 
•Still hoards up gold, and hides it from the view. 

But as these islands cheerfully combine, 715 

Others refuse t' embark in his design. 
Now leftward with an easy sail he bore, 
And prosp'rous passage to CEnopia's shore; 
OSnopia once, but now iEgina call'd, 
And with his royal mother's name install'd 720 

By iEacus, under whose reign did spring 
The Myrmidojus, and now their reigning king. 

Down to the port, amidst the rabble, run 
The princes of the blood ; with Telamon, 
Peleus the next, and Phocus, the third son : 725 

Then iEacus, although opprest with years, 
To ask the cause of their approach appears. 

That question does the Gnossian's grief renew, 
And sighs from his afflicted bosom drew; 
Yet after a short, solemn respite made, 730 

The ruler of the hundred cities said : 

Assist our arms, rais'd for a murder'd son, 
In this religious war no risk you'll run : 
Revenge the dead : — for, who refuse to give 
Rest to their urns, unworthy are to live, 735 

What you request (thus yEacus replies), 
Not I, but truth and common faith denies: 
Athens and we have long been sworn allies; 
Our leagues are fix'd, confed'rate are our pow'rs, 
And who declare themselves their foes, are ours. 740 

Minos rejoins, Your league shall dearly cost; 

BOOK VII. 177 

Yet (mindful how much safer 'twas to boast, 

Than there to waste his forces and his fame, 

Before in field with his grand foe he came), 

Parts without blows; — nor long had left the shore, 

Ere into port another navy bore, 74G 

With Cephalus, and all his jolly crew : 

Th' iEacides their old acquaintance knew ; 

The princes bid him welcome, and, in state, 

Conduct the hero to their palace gate ; 750 

Who, ent'ring, seem'd the charming mien to wear, 

As when in youth he paid his visit there. 

In his right hand an olive-branch he holds. 

And, salutation past, the chief unfolds 

His embassy from the Athenian state, 755 

Their mutual friendship, leagues of ancient date ; 

Their common danger, ev'ry thing could wake 

Concern, and his address successful make : 

Strength'ning his plea with all the charms of sense, 

And those with all the charms of eloquence. 760 

Then thus the king : Like suitors do you stand 
For that assistance which you may command ? 
Athenians, all our listed forces use 
(They're such as no bold service will refuse) ; 
And when y' have drawn them off, the gods be prais'd. 
Fresh legions can within our isle be rais'd : 7CG 

So stock'd with people, that we can prepare 
Both for domestic and for distant war, 
Ours, or our friends' insulters to chastise. 
Long may ye flourish thus, the prince replies. 770 
Strange transport seiz'd me as I pass'd along, 
To meet so many troops, and all so young, 
As if your army did of twins consist ; 
Yet amongst them my late acquaintance missM : 
E'en all that to your palace did resort, 775 

When first you entertained me at your court ; 
» And cannot guess the cause from whence could spring 
So vast a change. — Then thus the sighing king : 

Illustrious guest, to my strange tale attend, 
Of sad beginning, but a joyful end ; 780 

The whole to a vast history would swell, 
I shall but half, and that confus'dly, tell. 
That race whom so^^e ervMly you admir'd, 


Are all into their silent tombs retir'd : 

They fell; and falling, how they shook my state, 785 

Thought may conceive, but words can ne'er relate. 

A dreadful plague from angry Juno came, 
To scourge the land, that bore her rival's name ; 
Before her fatal anger was reveal'd, 
And teeming malice lay as yet conceal'd. 790 

All remedies we try, all med'cines use, 
Which nature could supply, or art produce : 
Th' unconquer'd foe derides the vain design, 
And art, and nature foil'd, declare the cause divine. 
At first we only felt th' oppressive weight 795 

Of gloomy clouds, then teeming with our fate, 
And lab'ring to discharge inactive heat : 
But ere four moons alternate changes knew, 
With deadly blasts the fatal south-wind blew, 
Infected all the air, and poison'd as it flew. 800 

Our fountains, too, a dire infection yield, 
For crowds of vipers creep along the field, 
And, with polluted gore, and baneful steams, 
Taint all the lakes, and venom all the streams. 

The young disease with milder force began, 805 
And rag'd on birds, and beasts, excusing man. 
The lab'ring oxen fall before the plough, 
Th' unhappy ploughmen stare and wonder how : 
The tabid sheep, with sickly bleatings, pines; 
Its wool decreasing, as its strength declines : 810 

The warlike steed, by inward foes compell'd, 
Neglects his honours, and deserts the field; 
Unnerv'd and languid, seeks a base retreat, 
And at the manger groans, but wish'd a nobler fate : 
The stags forget their speed, the boars their rage, 815 
Nor can the bears the stronger herds engage : 
A gen'ral faintness does invade 'em all, 
And in the woods and fields promiscuously they fall. 
The air receives the stench, and (strange to say) 
The rav'nous birds and beasts avoid the prey : 820 
Th' offensive bodies rot upon the ground, 
And spread the dire contagion all around. 

But now the plague, grown to a larger size, 
Riots on man, and scorns a meaner prize. 

BOOK VII. 179 

Intestine heats begin the civil war, 825 

And flushings first the latent flame declare, 
And breath inspir'd, which seem'd like fiery aiT. 
Their black dry tongues are swell'd, and scare can 

And short thick sighs from panting lungs are drove. 
They gape for air, with flatt'ring hopes t' abate 830 
Their raging flames, but that augments their heat. 
No bed, no cov'ring can the wretches bear, 
But on the ground expos'd to open air, 
They lie, and hope to find a pleasing coolness there. 
The suff 'ring earth, with that oppression curst, 835 
Returns the heat which they imparted first. 

In vain physicians would bestow their aid, 
Vain all their art, and useless all their trade ; 
And they, e'en they, who fleeting life recall, 
Feel the same pow'rs, and, undistinguish'd, fall. 840 
If any proves so daring to attend 
His sick companion, or his darling friend, 
Th' officious wretch sucks in contagious breath, 
And, with his friend, does sympathize in death. 

And now the care and hopes of life are past, 845 
They please their fancies, and indulge their taste ; 
At brooks and streams, regardless of their shame, 
Each sex, promiscuous, strives to quench their flame ; 
Nor do they strive in vain to quench it there, 
For thirst and life, at once, extinguish'd are. 850 

Thus in the brooks the dying bodies sink, 
But, heedless, still the rash survivors drink. 

So much uneasy down the wretches hate, 
They fly their beds to struggle with their fate ; 
But if decaying strength begins to rise, 855 

The victim crawls and rolls, till on the ground he lies. 
Each shuns his bed, as each would shun his tomb, 
And thinks th' infection only lodg'd at home. 

Here one, with fainting steps, does slowly creep 
O'er heaps of dead, and straight augments a heap ; SGO 
Another, while his strength and tongue prevail'd, 
Bewails his friend, and falls himself bewail'd : 
This, with imploring looks, surveys the skies, 
The last dear office of his closing eyes ; 
But finds the heav'ns implacable, and dies. 865 


What now, ah ! what employ'd my troubled mind? 
But only hopes rny subjects' fate to find. 
What place soe'er ray weeping eyes survey, 
There, in lamented heaps, tbe vulgar lay; 
As acorns scatter when the winds. prevail, 870 

Or mellow fruit from shaken branches fall. 

You see that dome which rears its front so high : 
'Tis sacred to the monarch of the sky : 
How many there, with unregarded tears, 
And fruitless vows, sent up successless pray'rs ! 875 
There fathers for expiring sons implor'd, 
And there the wife bewail'd her gasping lord; 
With pious off'rings, they'd appease the skies, 
But they, ere yet th' atoning vapours rise, 
Before the altars fall, themselves a sacrifice ; 880 

They fall, while yet their hands the gums contain, 
The gums surviving, but their off'rers slain. 

The destin'd ox, with holy garlands crown'd, 
Prevents the blow, and feels th' expected wound : 
When I myself invok'd the pow'rs divine, 885 

To drive the fatal pest from me and mine ; 
When now the priest with hands uplifted stood, 
Prepar'd to strike, and shed the sacred blood, 
The gods themselves the mortal stroke bestow, 
The victim falls, but they impart the blow : 890 

Scarce was the knife with the pale purple stain'd, 
And no presages could be then obtain'd, 
From putrid entrails, where th' infection reign'd. 

Death stalk'd .around with such resistless sway, 
The temples of the gods his force obey, 895 

And suppliants feel his stroke, while yet they pray. 
Go now (said he), your deities implore 
For fruitless aid, for I defy their pow'r. 
Then, with a curst, malicious joy, survey'd 
The very altars, stain'd with trophies of the dead. 900 

The rest grown mad, and frantic with despair, 
Urge their own fate, and so prevent the fear. 
Strange madness that, when death pursu'd so fast, 
T' anticipate the blow, with impious haste ! 

No decent honours to their urns are paid, 905 

Nor could the graves receive the num'rous dead ; 
For, as they lay unbury'd on the ground, 

BOOK VII. 181 

Or unadorn'd a needy fun'ral found: 

All rev'rence past, the fainting wretches fight 

For fun'ral piles which were another's right. 910 

Unmourn'd they fall ; for who surviv'd to mourn ? 
And sires, and mothers, unlamented burn : 
Parents and sons sustain an equal fate, 
And wand'ring ghosts their kindred shadows meet. 
The dead a larger space of ground require, 915 

Nor are the trees sufficient for the fire. 

Despairing under grief's oppressive weight, 
And sunk by these tempestuous blasts of fate, 
O Jove (said I), if common fame says true, 
If e'er JEgina gave those joys to you, 920 

If e'er you lay enclos'd in her embrace, 
Fond of her charms, and eager to possess; 
O father, if you do not yet disclaim 
Paternal care, nor yet disown the name ; 
Grant my petitions, and with speed restore 925 

My subjects num'rous as they were before, 
Or make me partner of the fate they bore. 

I spoke; and glorious lightning shone around, 
And rattling thunder gave a prosp'rous sound : 
So let it be, and may these omens prove 930 

A pledge (said I) of 3'our returning love. 

By chance a rev'rend oak was near the place, 
Sacred to Jove, and of Dodona's race ; 
Where frugal ants laid up their winter meat, 
Whose little bodies bear a mighty weight: 935 

We saw them march along, and hide their store, 
And much admir'd their number, and their pow'r; 
Admir'd at first, but after envy'd more. 

Full of amazement, thus to Jove I pray'd: 
O grant, since thus my subjects are decay'd, 940 

As many subjects to supply the dead ! 

1 pray'd, and strange convulsions mov'd the oak, 
Which murmur'd, though by ambient winds unshook : 
My trembling hands, and stiff erected hair, 
Express'd all tokens of uncommon fear; 945 

Yet both the earth and sacred oak I kiss'd, 
And scarce could hope, yet still I hop'd the best : 
For wretches, whatsoe'er the fates divine, 
Expound all omens to their own design. 


But now 'twas night, when e'en distraction wears 
A pleasing look, and dreams heguile our cares. 951 
Lo ! the same oak appears before mine eyes, 
Nor alter'd in its shape, nor former size ; 
As many ants the num'rous branches bear, 
The same their labour and their frugal care ; 955 

The branches too, a like commotion found, 
And shook th' industrious creatures on the ground, 
Who, by degress (what's scarce to be believ'd), 
A nobler form and larger bulk receiv'd, 
And on the earth walk an unusual pace, 960 

With manly strides and an erected face ; 
Their num'rous legs, and former colour lost, 
The insects could a human figure boast. 

I wake, and, waking, find my cares again, 
And to the unperforming gods complain, 965 

And call their promise and pretences vain. 
Yet in my court I heard the murm'ring voice 
Of strangers, and a mixt uncommon noise : 
But I suspected all was still a dream, 
Till Telamon to my apartment came, 970 

Op'ning the door with an impetuous haste ; 

come (said he), and see your faith and hopes sur- 

past : 

1 follow, and, confus'd with wonder, view 
Those shapes which my presaging slumbers drew: 

I saw, and own'd, and call'd them subjects; they 975 

Confess'd my pow'r, submissive to my sway. 

To Jove, restorer of my race decay'd, 

My vows were first with due oblations paid ; 

I then divide, wifhTan impartial hand, 

My empty city, and my ruin'd land, 980 

To give the new-born youth an equal share, 

And call'd them Myrmidons from what they were. 

You saw their persons, and they still retain 

The thrift of ants, though now transform'd to men. 

A frugal people, and inur'd to sweat, 985 

Lab'ring to gain, and keeping what they get. 

These, equal both in strength and years, shall join 

Their willing aid, and follow your design, 

With the first southern gale that shall present 

To fill your sails, and favour your intent. 990 

BOOK VII. 183 

With such discourse they entertain the day; 
The ev'ning pass'd in banquets, sport, and play: 
Then having crown'd the night with sweet repose, 
Aurora (with the wind at east) arose. 

Now Pallas' sons to Cephalus resort, 995 

And Cephalus with Pallas' sons to court, 
To the king's levee ; him sleep's silken chain, 
And pleasing dreams, heyond his hour detain ; 
But then the princes of the hlood, in state, 
Expect, and meet 'em, at the palace gate. 1000 

To th' inmost courts the Grecian youths were led, 
And plac'd hy Phocus on a Tyrian bed ; 
Who, soon observing Cephalus to hold 
A dart of unknown wood, but arm'd with gold ; 
None better loves (said he) the huntsman's sport, 1005 
Or does more often to the woods resort ; - 
Yet I that jav'lin's stem with wonder view, 
Too brown for box, too smooth a grain for yew. 
I cannot guess the tree; but never art, 
Did form, or eyes behold, so fair a dart .' 1010 

The guest then interrupts him — 'Twould produce 
Still greater wonder, if you knew its use. 
It never fails to strike the game, and then 
Comes bloody back into your band again. 
Then Phocus each particular desires, 1015 

And th' author of the wondrous gift inquires. 
To which the owner thus, with weeping eyes, 
And sorrow for his wife's sad fate, replies : 

This weapon here, (O prince !) can you believe 
This dart the cause for which so much I grieve ; 1020 
And shall continue to grieve on, till fate 
Afford such wretched life no longer date ? 
Would, I this fatal gift had ne'er enjoy'd, 
This fatal gift my tender wife destroy'd! 
Procris her name, allied L" charms and blood 102-5 
To fair Orythia courted by a god. 
Her father seal'd my hopes with rites divine, 
But firmer love before had made her mine. 
Men call'd me blest, and blest I was indeed, 
The second month our nuptials did succeed ; 1030 

When (as upon Hymettus' dewy head, 


For mountain stags, my net betimes I spread) 

Aurora spy'd, and ravish'd me away ; 

With rev'rence to the goddess I must say, 

Against my will, for Procris had my heart, 1035 

Nor would her image from my thoughts depart. 

At last, in rage she cry'd : Ungrateful boy, 

Go to your Procri3, take your fatal joy : 

And so dismiss'd me. Musing as I went, 

What those expressions of the goddess meant, 1040 

A thousand jealous fears possess me now, 

Lest Procris had profan'd her nuptial vow : 

Her youth and charms did to my fancy paint 

A lewd ad ul tress, but her life a saint. 

Yet I was absent long; the goddess too 1045 

Taught me how far a woman could be true. 

Aurora's treatment much suspicion bred ; 

Besides, who truly love, e'en shadows dread. 

I straight impatient for the trial grew, 1049 

What courtship, back'd with richest gifts, could do. 

Aurora's envy aided my design, 

And lent me features far unlike to mine. 

In this disguise to my own house I came ; 

But all was chaste, no conscious sign of blame : 

With thousand arts I scarce admittance found, 1055 

And then beheld her weeping on the ground 

For her lost husband ; hardly I retain'd 

My purpose, scarce the wishd embrace refrain'd. 

How charming was her grief ! Then, Phocus, guess 

What killing beauties waited on her dress. 1060 

Her constant answer, when my suit 1 press'd, 

' Forbear ; my lord's dear image guards this breast ; 

Where'er he is, whatever cause detains, 

Whoe'er has his, my heart unmov'd remains.' 1064 

What greater proofs of truth than these could be? 

Yet I persist, and urge my destiny. 

At length she found, when my own form return'd, 

Her jealous lover there, whose loss she mourn'd. 

Enrag'd with my suspicion, swift as wind, 

She fled >rt once from me and all mankind; 1070 

And so became, her purpose to retain, 

A nymph, and huntress in Diana's train. 

Forsaken thus, I found my flames increase, 

BOOK VII. 185 

I own'd my folly, and, I sued for peace. 

It was a fault, but not of guilt to move 1075 

Such punishment, a fault of too much love, 

Thus I retriev'd her to my longing arms, 

And many happy days possess'd her charms, 

But with herself she kindly did confer 

What gifts the goddess had bestow'd on her; 1080 

The fleetest greyhound, with this lovely dart: 

And I of both have wonders to impart. 

Near Thebes, a savage beast, of race unknown, 
Laid waste the field, and bore the vineyards down : 
The swains fled from him, and with one consent 1085 
Our Grecian youth to chase the monster went ; 
More swift than lightning he the toils surpass'd, 
And in his course, spears, men, and trees o'ercast. 
We slipt our dogs, and last my Lelaps too, 
When none of all the mortal race would do : 1090 
He long before was struggling from my hands, 
And ere we could unloose him, broke his bands. 
That minute, where he was, we could not find, 
And only saw the dust he left behind. 
I clim'd a neighb'ring hill to view the chase, 1095 
While in the plain they held an equal race ; 
The savage now seems caught, and now by force 
To quit himself, nor holds the same straight course; 
But running counter, from the foe withdraws, 
And with short turning cheats his gaping jaws, 1100 
Which he retrieves, and still so closely press'd, 
You'd fear at ev'ry stretch he were possest; 
Yet for the gripe his fangs in vain prepare, 
The game shoots from him, and he chops the air. 
To cast my jav'lin then I took my stand ; 1105 

But as the thongs were fitting to my hand, 
While to the valley I o'erlook'd the wood, 
Before my eyes two marble statues stood ; 
That, as pursu'd, appearing at full stretch ; 
This barking after, and at point to catch : 1110 

Some god their course did with this wonder grace, 
That, neither might be conquer"d in the chase. 
A sudden silence here his tongue suppress'd, 
He here stops short, and fain would waive the rest. 

The eager prince then urg'd him to impart, 1115 


The fortune that attended on the dart. 

First then (said he), past joys let me relate; 

For bliss was the foundation of my fate. 

No language can those happy hours express, 

Did from our nuptials me, and Procris bless : 1120 

The kindest pair ! what more could Heav'n confer 1 

For she was all to me, and I to her. 

Had Jove made love, great Jove had been despis'd ; 

And I my Procris more than Venus prized : 

Thus while no other joy we did aspire, 1125 

We grew at last one soul, and one desire. 

Forth to the woods I went at break of day 

(The constant practice of my youth) for prey : 

Nor yet for servant, horse, or dog did call ; 

I found the single dart to serve for all. 1130 

With slaughter tir'd, 1 sought the cooler shade, 

And winds that from the mountains pierc'd the glade ; 

Come, gentle air (so was I wont to say), 

Come, gentle air, sweet Aura, come away. 

This always was the burden of my song, 1135 

Come, "suage my flames, sweet Aura, come along. 

Thou always art most Avelcome to my breast; 

I faint; approach, thou dearest kindest guest! 

(These blandishments, and more than these, I said, 

By fate to unsuspected ruin led,) 1140 

Thou art my joy, for thy dear sake I love 

Each desert hill, and solitary grove ; 

When (faint with labour) I refreshment need, 

For cordials on thy fragrant breath I feed. 

At last a wand'ring swain in hearing came, 1145 
And, cheated with the sound of Aura's name, 
He thought I had some assignation made ; 
And to my Procris' ear the news convey'd. 
Great love is soonest with suspicion fir'd : 
She swoon'd, and with the tale almost expired. 1150 
Ah! wretched heart (shecry'd), ah ! faithless man! 
And then to curse th' imagin'd nymph began : 
Yet oft she doubts, oft hopes she is deceiv'd, 
And chides herself, that ever she believ'd, 
Her lord to such injustice could proceed, 1155 

Till she herself were witness of the deed. 

Next morn I to the woods again repair, 

BOOK VII. 187 

And, weary with the chase invoke the air; 

Approach, dear Aura, and my bosom cheer : — 

At which a mournful sound did strike my ear ; 1160 

Yet I proceeded, till the thicket by, 

With rustling noise and motion, drew my eye; 

I thought some beast of prey was shelter'd there, 

And to the covert threw my certain spear ; 

From whence a tender sigh my soul did wound; 1165 

' Ah me!' it cry'd, and did like Procris sound. 

Procris was there ; too well the voice I knew, 

And to the place with headlong horror flew ; 

Where I beheld her gasping on the ground, 

In vain attempting from the deadly wound 1170 

To draw the dart, her love's dear fatal gift .' 

My guilty arms .had scarce the strength to lift 

The beauteous load; my silks, and hair I tore 

(If possible) to stanch the pressing gore; 

For pity begg'd her keep her flitting breath, 1175 

And not to leave me guilty of her death. 

While I entreat, she fainted fast away, 

And these few words had only strength to say : 

' By all the sacred bonds of plighted love, 

By all your rev'rence to the pow'rs above, 1180 

By all that made me charming once appear, 

By all the truth for which you held me dear, 

And last by love, the cause through which I bleed, 

Let Aura never to my bed succeed!' 

I then perceiv'd the error of our fate, 1185 

And told it her, but found and told too late ! 

I felt her lower to my bosom fall, 

And while her eyes had any sight at all, 

On mine she fix'd them, in her pangs still press'd 

My hand, and sigh'd her soul into my breast ! 1190 

Yet, being undeceiv'd, resign'd her breath, 

Methought, more cheerfully, and smil'd in death. 

With such concern the weeping hero told 
This tale, that none who heard him could withhold 
From melting into sympathizing tears, 1195 

Till ./Eacus with his two sons appears ; 
Whom he commits, with their new-levy'd bands, 
To fortune's, and so brave a gen'ral's hands. 




The story of Nisus and Scylla. The Labyrinth. The story of 
Daedalus and Icarus. The story of Meleager and Atalanta. 
The transformation of the Naiads. Perimele turned into an 
island. The story of Baucis and Philemon. The changes of 
Proteus. The story of Erisichthon. The description of famine. 
The transformation of Erisiehthon's daughter. 

Now shone the morning star in bright array, 

To vanquish night, and usher in the day; 

The wind veers southward, and moist clouds arise, 

That blot with shades the blue meridian skies. 

Cephalus feels with joy the kindly gales, 5 

His new allies unfurl the swelling sails; 

Steady their course, they cleave the yielding main, 

And, with a wish, th' intended harbour gain. 

Meanwhile king Minos, on the Attic strand, 
Displays his martial skill, and wastes the land. 10 
His army is encamp'd upon the plains, 
Before Alcatho'e's walls, where Nisus reigns; 
On whose gray head a lock of purple hue, 
The strength and fortune of his kingdom, grew. 

Six moons were gone, and past, when still from far 
Victoria hover'd o'er the doubtful war. 10 

So long, to both inclin'd, th' impartial maid 
Between 'em both her equal wings display'd. 

High on the walls, by Phoebus vocal made, 
A turret of the palace rais'd its head ; 20 

And where the god his tuneful harp resign'd, 
The sound within the stones still lay enshrin'd : 
Hither the daughter of the purple king 
Ascended oft, to hear its music ring; 
And, striking with a pebble, would release 25 

Th' enchanted notes in times of happy peace. 
But now, from thence, the curious maid beheld 
Rough feats of arms, and combats of the field : 
And, since the siege was long, had learnt the name 
Of ev'ry chief, his character, and fame ; 30 

Their arms, their horse, and quiver she descry'd, 
Nor could the dress of war the warrior hide. 


Europa's son she knew above the rest, 
And more, than well became a virgin breast : 
In vain the crested morion veils his face, 35 

She thinks it adds a more peculiar grace: 
His ample shield, emboss'd with burnish'd gold, 
Still makes the bearer lovelier to behold: 
When the tough jav'lin, with a whirl he sends, 
His strength, and skill, the sighing maid commends: 
Or, when he strains to draw the circling bow, 41 

And his fine limbs a manly posture shew, 
Compar'd with Phoebus, he performs so well, 
Let her be judge, and Minos shall excel. 

But when the helm, put off, display'd to sight, 45 
And set his features in an open light ; 
When, vaulting to his seat, his steed he press'd, 
Caparison'd in gold, and richly drest; 
Himself in scarlet sumptuously array'd, 
New passions rise, and fire the frantic maid. .50 

O happy spear! (she cries) that feels his touch; 
Nay, e'en the reins he holds are blest too much. 

! were it lawful she could wing her way 
Through the stern hostile troops without dismay; 

Or throw her body to the distant ground, 55 

And in the Cretans' happy camp be found. 

Would Minos but desire it! she'd expose 

Her native country to her country's foes ; 

Unbar the gates, the town with flames infest, 

Or any thing that Minos should request. 60 

And, as she sat, and pleas'd her longing sight, 
Viewing the king's pavilion veil'd with white, 
Should joy, or grief (she said), possess my breast, 
To see my country by a war opprest ? 
I'm in suspense! for, though 'tis grief to know, 65 

1 love a man that is decJar'd my foe ; 
Yet in my own despite, I must approve 

That lucky war, which brought the man I love. 

Yet, were 1 tender'd as a pledge of peace, 

The cruelties of war might quickly cease. 70 

O! with what joy I'd wear the chains he gave ! 

A patient hostage, and a willing slave. 

Thou lovely object! if the nymph that bare 

Thy charming person, were but half so fair; 


Well might a god her yirgin bloom desire, 75 

And with a rape indulge his amorous fire. 

O ! had I wings to glide along the air, 

To his dear tent I'd fly, and settle there ; 

There tell ray quality, confess my flame, 

And grant him any dowry that he'd name. 80 

All, all I'd give ; only my native land, 

My dearest country, should excepted stand. 

For, perish love and all expected joys, 

Ere with so base a thought, my soul complies. 

Yet, oft thevanquish'd some advantage find, 85 

When conquer'd by a noble, gen'rous mind. 

Brave Minos justly as the war begun, 

Fir'd with resentment for his murder'd son : 

The righteous gods a righteous cause regard, 

And will, with victory, his arms reward : 90 

We must be conquer'd; and the captive's fate 

Will surely seize us, though it seize us late. 

Why then should love be idle, and neglect 

What Mars, by arms and perils, will effect 1 

O prince, I die, with anxious fear opprest, 95 

Lest some rash hand should wound my charmer'sbreast: 

For, if they saw no barb'rous mind could dare 

Against that lovely form to raise a spear. 

But I'm resolv'd, and fixt in this decree, 

My father's country shall my dowry be. 100 

Thus I prevent the loss of life and blood, 

And, in effect, the action must be good. 

Vain resolution ! for, at ev'ry gate 

The trusty centinels successive wait: 

The keys my father keeps; ah ! -there's my grief; 105 

'Tis he obstructs all hopes of my relief. 

Gods! that this hated light I'd never seen ! 

Or, all my life without a father been ! 

But gods we all may be : for those that dare, 

Are gods, and fortune's chiefest favours share. 110 

The ruling pow'rs a lazy pray'r detest, 

The bold adventurer succeeds the best. 

What other maid, inspir'd with such a flame, 

But would take courage, and abandon shame? 

But would, though ruin should ensue, remove 115 

Whate'er oppos'd, and clear the way to love? 


This, shall another's feeble passion dare, 
While I sit tame, and languish in despair 1 ? 
No ; for though fire and sword before me lay, 
Impatient love through both should force its way ; 120 
Yet I have no such enemies to fear, 
My sole obstruction is my father's hair ; 
His purple lock my sanguine hope destroys, 
And clouds the prospect of my rising joys. 

Whilst thus she spoke, amid the thick'ning air 125 
Night supervenes the greatest nurse of care ; 
And, as the goddess spreads her sable wings, 
The virgin's fears decay, and coiirage springs. 
The hour was come, when man's o'er-labour'd breast 
Surceas'd its care, by downy sleep possest: 130 

All things now hush'd, Scylla with silent tread 
Urg'd her approach to Nisus' royal bed: 
There of the fatal lock (accursed theft!) 
She her unwitting father's head bereft. 
In safe possession of her impious prey, 135 

Out at a postern gate she takes her way. 
Embolden'd, by the merit of the deed, 
She traverses the adverse camp with speed, 
Till Minos' tent she reach'd : The righteous king 
She thus bespoke, who shiver'd at the thing: 140 

Behold th' effect of love's resistless sway ! 
I, Nisus' royal seed to thee betray 
My country, and my gods. For this strange task, 
Minos, no other boon but thee I ask. 
This purple lock, a pledge of love receive; 145 

No worthless present, since in it I give 
My father's head. — Mov'd at a crime so new, 
And with abhorrence fill'd, back Minos drew. 
Nor touch'd th' unhallow'd gift ; but thus exclaim'd, 
(With mien indignant, and with eye3 inflam'd): 150 
Perdition seize thee, thou, thy kind's disgrace ; 
May thy devoted carcase find no place 
In earth, or air, or sea, by all outcast! 
Shall Minos, with so foul a monster, blast 
His Cretan world, where cradled Jove was nurst? 155 
Forbid it Heav'n ! Away, thou most accurst! 

And now Alcathbe,its lord exchang'd. 
Was under Minos' domination rang'd. 


While the most equal king his care applies 

To curb the conquer'd, and new laws devise, 160 

The fleet, by his command, with hoisted sails, 

And ready oars, invites the murrn'ring gales. 

At length the Cretan hero anchor weigh'd, 

Repaying, with neglect, the abandon'd maid. 

Deaf to her cries, he furrows up the main; 165 

In vain she prays, solicits him in vain. 

And now she furious grows ; in wild despair 
She wrings her hands, and throws aloft her hair. 
Where runn'st thou (thus she vents her deep distress) 
Why shunn'st thou her that cro wn'd thee with success ? 
Her, whose fond love to thee could sacrifice 171 

Her country, and her parent, sacred ties! 
Can nor my love, nor proffer'd presents find 
A passage to thy heart, and make thee kind? 
Can nothing move thy pity? O ingrate, 175 

Canst thou behold my lost, forlorn estate, 
And not be soften'd ? Canst thou throw off one 
Who has no refuge left but thee alone ? 
Where shall I seek for comfort? whither fly? 
My native country does in ashes lie : 180 

Or were't not so, my treason bars me there, 
And bids me wander. Shall I next repair 
To a wrong'd father, by my guilt undone? — 
Me, all mankind deservedly will shun. 
I, out of all the world, myself have thrown, 185 

To purchase an access to Crete alone ; 
Which since refus'd,ungen'rous man, give o'er 
To boast thy race ; Europa never bore 
A thing so savage. Thee some tigress bred, 
On the bleak Syrt's inhospitable bed; 190 

Or where Charybdis pours its rapid tide 
Tempestuous. Thou art not to love allied; 
Nor did the king of gods thy mother meet 
Beneath a bull's forg'd shape, and bear to Crete. 
That fable of thy glorious birth is feign'd; 195 

Some wild outrageous bull thy dam sustain'd. 
O father Nisus, now my death behold ; 
Exult, O city, by my baseness sold ! 
Minos, obdurate, has aveng'd ye all; 
But 'twere more just by those I wrong'd to fall: 200 


For why should'st thou, who only didst subdue 

By my offending, my offence pursue? 

Well art thou match'd to one whose am'rous flame 

Too fiercely rag'd, for human kind to tame; 

One who, within a wooden heifer thrust, 295 

Courted a low'ring bull's mistaken lust; 

And, from whose monster-teeming womb, the earth 

Receiv'd what much it mourn'd, a bi-form birth. 

But what avail my plaints 1 the whistling wind, 

Which bears him far away, leaves them behind. 210 

Well weigh'd Pasiphae, when she preferr'd 

A bull to thee, more brutish than the herd. 

But, ah ! time presses, and the labour'd oars 

To distance drive the fleet, and lose the less'ning shores. 

Think not, ungrateful man, the liquid way 215 

And threat'ning hillows shall enforce my stay. 

I'll follow thee in spite : my arms I'll throw 

Around thy oars, or grasp thy crooked prow, 

And drag through drenching seas. — Her eager tongue 

Had hardly clos'd the speech, when forth she sprung, 

And prov'd the deep. Cupid with added force 221 

Recruits each nerve, and aids her wat'ry course. 

Soon she the ship attains, unwelcome guest; 

And, as with close embrace its sides she press'd, 

A hawk from upper air came pouring down 225 

('Twas Nisus cleft the sky with wings new grown) : 

At Scylla's head his horny bill he aims ; 

She, fearful of. the blow, the ship disclaims, 

Quitting her hold: and yet she fell not far, 

But wond'ring, finds herself sustain'd in air. 230 

Chang'd to a lark, she mottled pinions shook, 

And, from the ravish'd lock, the name of Ciris took. 

Now Minos, landed on the Cretan shore, 
Performs his vows to Jove's protecting pow'r, 
A hundred bullocks of the largest breed, 235 

With flow'rets crown'd, before his altar bleed : 
While trophies of the vanquish'd, brought from far, 
Adorn the palace with the spoils of war. 

Meanwhile the monster of a human beast, 
His family's reproach, and stain, increas'd. 240 

His double kind the rumour swiftly spread, 


And evidenc'd the mother's beastly deed. 
When Minos, willing to conceal the shame 
That sprang from the reports of tattling fame, 
Resolves a dark inclosure to provide, 245 

And, far from sight, the two-form'd creature hide. 

Great Daedalus of Athens was the man 
That made the draught, and form'd the wondrous 

Where rooms within themselves encircled lie, 
With various windings, to deceive the eye. 250 

As soft Maeander's wanton current plays, 
When through the Phrygian fields it loosely strays; 
Backward and forward rolls the dimpled tide, 
Seeming, at once, two difF'rent ways to glide : 
While circling streams their former banks survey, 
And waters past, succeeding waters see ; 256 

Now floating to the sea with downward course, 
Now pointing upward to its ancient source. 
Such was the work, so intricate the place, 
That scarce the workman all its turns could trace ; 
And Daedalus was puzzled how to find 261 

The secret ways of what himself design'd. 

These private walls the Minotaure include, 
Who twice was glutted with Athenian blood : 
But the third tribute more successful prov'd, 265 

Slew the foul monster, and the plague remov'd. 
When Theseus, aided by the virgin's art, 
Had trac'd the guiding thread through ev'ry part, 
He took the gentle maid, that set him free, 
And, bound for Dias, cut the briny sea. 270 

There quickly cloy'd, ungrateful, and unkind, 
Left his fair consort in the isle behind : 
Whom Bacchus saw, and straining in his arms 
Her rifled bloom, and violated charms, 
Resolves, for this, the dear engaging dame 275 

Should shine for ever in the rolls of fame ; 
And bids her crown among the stars be plac'd, 
With an eternal constellation grac'd. 
The golden circlet mounts ; and, as it flies, 
Its diamonds twinkle in the distant skies ; 280 

There, in their pristiae form, the gemmy rays 
Between Alcides, and the dragon blaze. 


• In tedious exile now too long detain'd, 

Daedalus languish'd for his native land : 

The sea foreclos'd his flight ; yet thus he said ; 285 

Though earth and water in subjection laid, 

O cruel Minos, thy dominion be, 

We'll go through air ; for sure the air is free. 

Then to new arts his cunning thought applies, 

And to improve the work of nature tries. 290 

A row of quills in gradual order plac'd, 

Rise by degrees in length from first to last ; 

As on a cliff th' ascending thicket grows, 

Or, different reeds the rural pipe compose. 

Along the middle runs a twine of flax, 295 

The bottom stems are join'd by pliant wax. 

Thus, well compact, a hollow bending brings 

The fine composure into real wings. 

His boy, young Icarus, that near him stood, 
Unthinking of his fate, with smiles pursu'd 300 

The floating feathers, which the moving air [there, 
Bore loosely from the ground, and wafted here and 
Or with the wax impertinently play'd, 
And with his childish tricks the great design delay'd. 
The final master-stroke at last impos'd, 305 

And now, the neat machine completely clos'd ; 
Fitting his pinions, on a flight he tries, 
And hung self-balanc'd in the beaten skies. 
Then thus instructs his child: My boy, take care 
To wing your course along the middle air ; 310 

If low, the surges wet your flagging plumes, 
If high, the sun the melting wax consumes : 
Steer between both : nor to the northern skies, 
Nor south Orion turn your giddy eyes ; 
But follow me : Let me before you lay 31 5 

Rules for the flight, and mark the pathless way. 
Then teaching, with a fond concern, his son, 
He took the untried wings, and fix'd 'em on, 
But fix'd with trembling hands ; and, as he speaks. 
The tears roll gently down his aged cheeks. 320 

Then kiss'd, and in his arms embrae'd him fast, 
But knew not this embrace must be the last ; 
And mounting upward, as he wings his flight, 
Back on his charge he turns his aching sight, 


As parent birds, when first their callow care 325 

Leave the high nest to tempt the liquid air ; 
Then cheers him on, and oft, with fatal art, 
Reminds the stripling to perform his part. 
These, as the angler at the silent brook, 
Or mountain-shepherd leaning on his crook, 330 

Or gaping ploughman from the vale descries, 
They stare, and view 'em with religious eyes, 
And straight conclude 'em gods ; since none but they 
Through their own azure skies could find a way. 

Now Delos, Paros, on the left are seen, 335 

And Samos, favour'd by Jove's haughty queen; 
Upon the right, the isle Lebynthos nam'd, 
And fair Calymne for its honey fam'd. 
When now the boy, whose childish thoughts aspire 
To loftier aims, and make him ramble high'r, 340 

Grown wild, and wanton, more embolden'd flies 
Far from his guide, and soars among the skies. 
The soft'ning wax, that felt a nearer sun, 
Dissolv'd apace, and soon began to run ; 
The youth in vain his melting pinions shakes, 345 
His feathers gone, no longer air he takes; 
O! father, father! as he strove to cry, 
Down to the sea he tumbled from on high, 
And found his fate ; yet still subsists by fame, 
Among those waters that retain his name. 350 

The father, now no more a father, cries, 
Ho, Icarus ! where are you? as he flies ; 
Where shall I seek my boy 1 he cries again, 
And saw his feathers scatter'd on the main : 
Then curs'd his art ; and fun'ral rites conferr'd, 355 
Naming the country from the youth interr'd. 

A partridge, from a neighb'ring stump, beheld 
The sire his monumental marble build ; 
Who, with peculiar call, and flutt'ring wing, 
Chirp'd joyful, and malicious seem'd to sing : 360 

The only bird of all its kind, and late 
Transform'd in pity to a feather'd state : 
From whence, O Daedalus, thy guilt we date. 

His sister's son, when now twelve years were past, 
Was, with his uncle, as a scholar plac'd ; 365 


The unsuspecting mother saw his parts, 

And genius fitted for the finest arts. 

This soon appear'd ; for when the spiny hone 

In fishes' hacks was by the stripling known, 

A rare invention thence he learnt to draw, 370 

Fil'd teeth in ir'n, and made the grating saw. 

He was the first, that from a knob of brass 

Made two straight arms with widening stretch to 

That, while one stood upon the centre's place, 
The other round it drew a circling space. 375 

Daedalus envy'd this, and from the top 
Of fair Minerva's temple let him drop ; 
Feigning that, as he lean'd upon the tow'r, 
Careless he stoop'd too much, and tumbled o'er. 

The goddess, who th' ingenious still befriends, 380 
On this occasion her assistance lends ; 
His arms with feathers, as he fell, she veils, 
And in the air a new made bird he sails. 
The quickness of his genius, once so fleet, 
Still in his wings remains, and in his feet : 385 

Still, though transform'd, his ancient name he 

And with low flight the new-shorn stubble sweeps ; 
Declines the lofty trees, and thinks it best 
To brood in hedge-rows o'er its humble nest ; 
And, in remembrance of the former ill, 390 

Avoid the heights, and precipices still. 

At length, fatigu'd with long laborious flights, 
On fair Sicilia's plains the artist lights ; 
Where Cocalus the king, that gave him aid, 
Was, for his kindness, with esteem repaid. 395 

Athens no more her doleful tribute sent, 
That hardship gallant Theseus did prevent ; 
Their temples hung with garlands, they adore 
Each friendly god, but most Minerva's pow'r ; 
To her, to Jove, to all, their altars smoke, 400 

They each with victims and perfumes invoke. 

Now talking Fame, through ev'ry Grecian town, 
Had spread, immortal Theseus, thy renown. 
From him, the neighb'ring nations in distress, 
In suppliant terms implore a kind redress. 405 


From him, the Calidonians sought relief; 
Though valiant Meleagrus was their chief. 
The cause, a boar, who ravag'd far and near : 
Of Cynthia's wrath, th' avenging minister. 
For GEneus with autumnal plenty bless'd, 410 

By gifts to heav'n his gratitude express'd : 
Cull'd sheaves, to Ceres ; to Lyaeus, wine; 
To Pan, and Pales, offer'd sheep and kine ; 
And fat of olives, to Minerva's shrine. 
Beginning from the rural gods, his hand 415 

Was lib'ral to the pow'rs of high command : 
Each deity in ev'ry kind was bless'd, 
Till at Diana's fane th' invidious honour ceas'd. 

Wrath touches e'en the gods ; the queen of night, 
Fir'd with disdain, and jealous of her right, 420 

Unhonour'd though I am, at least (said she), 
Not unreveng'd that impious act shall be. 
Swift as the word, she sped the boar away, 
With charge on those devoted fields to prey. 
No larger bulls th' ^Egyptian pastures feed, 425 

And none so large Sicilian meadows breed : 
His eye-balls glare with fire suftus'd with blood ; 
His neck shoots up a thick-set thorny wood ; 
His bristled back a trench impal'd appears, 
And stands erected, like a field of spears ; 430 

Froth fills his chaps, he sends a grunting sound, 
And part he churns, and part befoams the ground. 
For tusks with Indian elephants he strove, 
And Jove's own thunder from his mouth he drove. 
He burns the leaves ; the scorching blast invades 435 
The tender corn, and shrivels up the blades: 
Or suff 'ring not their yellow beards to rear, 
He tramples down the spikes, and intercepts the 

In vain the barns expect their promis'd load; 
Nor barns at home, nor ricks are heap'd abroad : 440 
In vain the hinds the threshing-floor prepare, 
And exercise their flails in empty air. 
With olives ever-green the ground is strow'd, 
And grapes ungather'd shed their gen'rous blood. 
Amid the fold he rages, nor the sheep 445 

Their shepherds, nor the grooms their bulls can keep. 


From fields to walls the frighted rabble run, 
Nor think themselves secure within the town : 
Till Meleagrus, and his chosen crew, 
Contemn the danger, and the praise pursue. 4j0 

Fair Leda's twins (in time to stars decreed) 
One fought on foot, one curb'd the fiery steed ; 
Then issu'd forth fam'd Jason after these, 
Who mann'd the foremost ship that sail'd the seas ; 
Then Theseus join'd with bold Perithoiis came, 455 
A single concord in a double name ; 
The Thestian sons, Idas who swiftly ran, 
And Ceneus, once a woman, now a man ; 
Lynceus, with eagle's eyes, and lion's heart; 
Leucippus, with his never-erring dart: 460 

Acastus, Phileus, Phoenix, Telamon, 
Echion, Lelix, and Eurytion, 
Achilles' father, and great Phocus' son ; 
Dryas the fierce, and Hippasus the strong; 
With twice old Iblas, and Nestor then but young ; 465 
Laertes active, and Ancasus bold ; 
Mopsus the sage, who future things foretold; 
And t'other seer,* yet by his wife unsold. 
A thousand others of immortal fame: 
Amongst the rest, fair Atalanta came, 470 

Grace of the woods ; a diamond buckle bound 
Her vest behind, that else had flow'd upon the ground, 
And shew'd her buskin'd legs ; her head was bare, 
But for her native ornament of hair ; 
Which in a simple knot was tied above, 475 

Sweet negligence ! unheeded bait of love ! 
Her sounding quiver, on her shoulder tied, 
One hand a dart, and one a bow supply'd. 
Such was her face, as in a nymph display'd 
A fair fierce boy, or in a boy betray'd 480 

The blushing beauties of a modest maid. 
The Calidonian chief at once the dame 
Beheld, at once his heart receiv'd the flame, 
With heav'ns averse. O happy youth (he cry'd), 
For whom the fates reserve so fair a bride ! 485 

He sigh'd, and had no leisure more to say ; 

* Amphiaraus. 


His honour calPd his eyes another way, 

And forced him to pursue the now neglected prey. 

There stood a forest on a mountain's brow, 
Which overlook'd the shaded plains below ; 490 

No sounding axe presum'd those trees to bite ; 
Coeval with the world, a venerable sight. 
The heroes there arriv'd; some spread around 
The toils; some search the footsteps on the ground: 
Some from the chains the faithful dogs unbound. 495 
Of action eager, and intent in thought, 
The chiefs their honourable danger sought : 
A valley stood below ; the common drain 
Of waters from above, and falling rain : 
The bottom was a moist and marshy ground, 500 

Whose edges were with bending osiers crown'd : 
The knotty bulrush next in order stood, 
And all within of reeds a trembling wood. 

From hence the boar was rous'd, and sprang amain , 
Like lightning sudden, on the warrior train; 505 

Beats down the trees before him, shakes the ground, 
The forest echoes to the crackling sound ; 
Shout the fierce youth, and clamours ring around. 
All stood with their protended spears prepar'd, 
With broad steel heads the brandish'd weapons glar'd. 
The beast impetuous with his tusks aside 51 1 

Deals glancing wounds; the fearful dogs divide: 
All spend their mouths aloof, but none abide. 
Echion threw the first, but miss'd his mark, 
And stuck his boar-spear on a maple's bark. 515 

Then Jason; and his jav'lin seem'd to take, 
But fail'd with over-force, and whizz'd above his back. 
Mopsus was next : but, ere he threw, address'd 
To Phoebus, thus: O patron, help thy priest: 
If I adore, and ever have ador'd 520 

Thy pow'r divine, thy present aid afford ; 
That I may reach the beast. The god allow'd 
His pray'r, and smiling, gave him what he could : 
He reach'd the savage, but no blood he drew, 
Dian unarm'd the jav'lin as it flew. 5'2;> 

This chaf'd the boar, his nostrils fiames expire, 
And his red eye-balls roll, with living fire. 
Whirl'd from a sling, or from an engine thrown, 


Amid the foes, so flies a mighty stone, 

As flew the beast : the left wing put to flight, 530 

The chiefs o'erbome, he rushes on the right. 

Eupalamos and Pelagon he laid 

In dust, and next to death, but for their fellows' aid. 

Onesimus far'd worse ; prepar'd to fly, 

The fatal fang drove deep within his thigh, 535 

And cut the nerves : the nerves no more sustain 

The bulk ; the bulk unpropp'd, falls headlong on the 

Nestor had fail'd the fall of Troy to see, [plain. 
But, leaning on his lance, he vaulted on a tree; 
Then gath'ring up his feet, look'd down with fear, 
And thought his monstrous foe was still too near. 541 
Against a stump his tusk the monster grinds, 
And in the sharpen'd edge new vigour finds. 
Then, trusting to his arms, young Othrys found, 
And ranch'd his hips with one continu'd wound. 5 15 

Now Leda's twins, the future stars, appear ; 
White were their habits, white their horses were: 
Conspicuous both, and both in act to throw 
Their trembling lances, brandish'd, at the foe : 
Nor had they miss'd; but he to thickets fled, 550 

Conceal'dfrom aiming spears, not pervious to the steed. 
But Telamon rush'd in, and happ'd to meet 
A rising root, that held his fasten'd feet; 
So down he fell, whom, sprawling on the ground, 
His brother from the wooden gyves unbound. 555 

Meantime the virgin huntress was not slow 
T' expel the shaft from her contracted bow ; 
Beneath his ear the fastened arrow stood, 
And from the wound appear'd the trickling blood. 
She blush'd for joy: but Meleagrus rais'd 560 

His voice with loud applause, and the fair archer 
He was the first to see, and first to shew [prais'd. 

His friends the marks of the successful blow. 
Nor shall thy valour want the praises due, 
He said. A virtuous envy seiz'd the crew : 565 

They shout; the shouting animates their hearts, 
And all at once employ their thronging darts: 
But out of order thrown, in air they join, 
And multitude makes frustrate the design. 
With both his hands the proud Ancasus takes, 570 
K 2 


And flourishes his double-biting axe ; 

Then, forward to his fate, he took a stride 

Before the rest, and to his fellows cry'd : 

Give place, and mark the difference if you can, 

Between a woman warrior, and a man : 575 

The boar is doom'd ; nor though Diana lend 

Her aid, Diana can her beast defend. 

Thus boasted he ; then stretch'd, on tiptoe stood, 

Secure to make his empty promise good. 

But the more wary beast prevents the blow, 59% 

And upward rips the groin of his audacious foe. 

Ancasus falls ; his bowels from the wound 

Rush out, and clotted blood distains the ground. 

Perithous, no small portion of the war, 
Press'd on, and shook his lance : to whom from far, 
Thus Theseus cry'd : O stay, my better part, 586 

My more than mistress; of my heart, the heart. 
The strong may fight aloof; Ancasus try'd 
His force too near, and by presuming died. 
He said, and while he spake, his jav'lin threw ; 500 
Hissing in air the unerring weapon flew; 
But on an arm of oak, that stood betwixt 
The marksman and the mark, his lance he fix'd. 

Once more bold Jason threw, but fail'd to wound 
The boar, and slew an undeserving hound, 595 

And through the dog the dart was nail'd to ground. 

Two spears from Meleager's hand were sent, 
With equal force, but various in th' event: 
The first was fix'd in earth, the second stood 
On the boar's bristled back, and deeplydrank his blood. 

Now while the tortur'd savage turns around, 601 
And flings about his foam, impatient of the wound, 
That wound's great author close at hand provokes 
His rage, and plies him with redoubled strokes ; 
Wheels as he wheels; and, with his pointed dart, 605 
Explores the nearest passage to his heart. 
Quick and more quick he spins, in giddy gires, 
Then falls, and in much foam his soul expires. 
This act with shouts heav'n-high the friendly band 
Applaud, and strain in theirs the victor's hand. 610 
Then all approach'd the slain, with vast surprise, 
Admire on what a breadth of earth he lies, 


And scarce secure, reach out their spears afar, 
And blood theirpoints,toprove theirpartnership of war. 
But he, the conqu'ring chief, his foot impress'd C15 
On the strong neck of that destructive beast; 
And gazing on the nymph with ardent eyes, 
Accept (said he), fair Nonacrine, my prize, 
And, though inferior, suffer me to join 
My labours, and my part of praise, with thine : G20 
At this, presents her with the tusky head 
And chine, with rising bristles roughly spread. 
Glad, she receiv'd the gift; and seem'd to take 
With double pleasure, for the giver's sake. 
The rest were seiz'd with sullen discontent, 625 

And a deaf murmur through the squadron went: 
All envy'd; but the Thestyan brethren shew'd 
The least respect, and thus they vent their spleen aloud : 
Lay down those honour'd spoils, nor think to share, 
Weak woman as thou art, the prize of war : 630 

Ours is the title, thine a foreign claim, 
Since Meleagrus from our lineage came. 
Trust not thy beauty; but restore the prize, 
Which he, besotted on that face and eyes, 
Would rend from us. — At this, inflam'd with spite, 
From her they snatch the gift, from him the giver's 
right. 636 

But soon th' impatient prince his falchion drew, 
And cry'd, Ye robbers of another's due, 
Now learn the diflf'rence, at your proper cost, 
Betwixt true valour and an empty boast. — C40 

At this advanc'd, and sudden as the word, 
In proud Plexippns' bosom plung'd the sword : 
Toxeus amaz'd, and with amazement slow, 
Or to revenge, or ward the coming blow, C44 

Stood doubting ; and while doubting thus he stood, 
Receiv'd the steel bath'd in his brother's blood. 

Pleas'd with the first, unknown the second news, 
Althaea to the temples pays their dues 
For her son's conquest ; when at length appear 
Her grisly brethren stretch'd upon the bier : 650 

Pale at the sudden sight, she chang'd her cheer, 
And with her cheer, her robes ; but hearing tell 
The cause, the manner, and by whom they fell, 


'Twas grief no more, or grief and rage were one 
Within her soul ; at last, 'twas rage alone ; 655 

Which, burning upwards in succession, dries 
The tears, that stood consid'ring in her eyes. 

There lay a log unlighted on the hearth, 
When she was lab'ring in the throes of birth, 
For th' unborn chief: the fatal sisters came, 660 

And rais'd it up, and toss'd it on the flame ; 
Then on the rock a scanty measure place 
Of vital flax, and turn'd the wheel apace ; 
And turning sung : To this red brand and thee, 
O new-born babe, we give an equal destiny : — 665 
So vanish'd out of view. The frighted dame 
Sprang hasty from her bed, and quench'd the flame ; 
The log, in secret lock'd, she kept with care ; 
And that, while thus preserv'd, preserv'd her heir. 

This brand she now produc'd; and first she strews 
The hearth with heaps of chips, and after blows: 671 
Thrice heav'd her hand, and heav'd, she thrice re- 
The sister, and the mother long contest, [press'd ; 
Two doubtful titles, in one tender breast : 
And now her eyes and cheeks with fury glow, 675 
Now pale her cheeks, her eyes with pity flow : 
Now low'ring looks presage approaching storms, 
And now prevailing love her face reforms ; 
Resolv'd, 6he doubts again; the tears she dry'd 
With burning rage, are by new tears supplied; 680 
And as a ship, which wind and waves assail, 
Now with the current drives, now with the gale, 
Both opposite, and neither long prevail ; 
She feels a double force, by turns obeys 
TV imperious tempest, and th' impetuous seas : 685 
So fares Althaea's mind; she first relents 
With pity; of that pity then repents. 
Sister, and mother, long the scales divide ; 
But the beam nodded on the sister's side : 
Sometimes she softly sigh'd, then roar'd aloud; 606 
But sighs were stifled in the cries of blood. 

The pious, impious wretch at length decreed, 
To please her brothers' ghosts, hereon should bleed: 
And when the fun'ral flames began to rise, 


Receive (she said) a sister's sacrifice ; 695 

A mother's bowels burn: high in her hand, 

Thus while sbe spoke, she held the fatal brand ; 

Then thrice before the kindled pile she bow'd, 

And the three Furies thus invok'd aloud: 

Come, come, revenging sisters, come, and view 700 

A sister paying her dead brother's due : 

A crime I punish, and a crime commit, 

But blood for blood, and death for death is fit: 

Great crimes must be with greater crimes repaid, 

And second fun'rals on the former laid. 705 

Let the whole household in one ruin fall, 

And may Diana's curse o'ertake us all ! 

Shall fate to happy Qineus still allow 

One son, while Thestius stands depriv'd of two? 

Better three lost, than one unpunish'd go. 710 

Take, then, dear ghosts (while yet admitted new 

In hell, you wait my duty), take your due: 

A costly off ring on your tomb is laid, 

When with my blood the price of yours is paid. — 

Ah! whither am I hurry 'd? Ah forgive, 715 

Ye shades, and let your sister's issue live : 

A mother cannot give him death; though he 

Deserves it, he deserves it not from me : — 

Then shall th' unpunish'd wretch insult the slain, 

Triumphant live; nor only live, but reign? 720 

While you, thin shades, the sport of winds, are tost 

O'er dreary plains, or tread the burning coast. 

I cannot, cannot bear ; 'tis past, 'tis done ; 

Perish this impious, this detested son ; 

Perish his sire, and perish I withal; 725 

And let the house's heir, and the hop'd kingdom fall ! 

Where is the mother fled, her pious love, 

And where the pains with which ten months I strove ! 

Ah! hadst thou died, my son, in infant years, 

Thy little hearse had been bedew'd with tears. — 730 

Thou liv'st by me ; to me thy breath resign ; 

Mine is the merit, the demerit thine. 

Thy life by double title I require ; 

Once giv'n at birth, and once preserv'd by fire; 

One murder pay, or add one murder more, 735 

And me to them who fell by thee restore. — 


I would, but cannot : my son's image stands 
Before my sight ; and now their angry hands 
My brothers hold, and vengeance these exact, 
This pleads compassion, and repents the fact. — 740 , 
He pleads in vain, and I pronounce his doom : 
My brothers, though unjustly, shall o'ercome : 
But having paid their injur'd ghosts their due, 
My son requires my death, and mine shall his pursue. 
At this, for the last time, she lifts her hand, 745 
A. verts her eyes, and, half unwilling, drops the brand. 
The brand, amid the naming fuel thrown, 
Or drew, or seem'd to draw, a dying groan : 
The fire3 themselves but faintly lick'd their prey, 
Then loath'd their impious food, and would have 
shrunk away. 750 

Just then the hero cast a doleful cry, 
And in, those absent flames began to fry: 
The blind contagion rag'd within his veins; 
But he with manly patience bore his pains: 
He fear'd not fate, but only griev'd to die 755 

Without an honest wound, and by a death so dry. 

Happy Ancaeus (thrice aloud he o.ry'dj, 
With what becoming fate in arms he dy'd ! 
Then call'd his brothers, sisters, sire around, 
And her to whom his nuptial vows were bound; 760 
Perhaps his mother; a long sigh he drew, 
And, his voice failing, took his last adieu : 
For, as the flames augment, and as they stay 
At their full height, then languish to decay, 
They rise and sink by fits ; at last they soar 765 

In one bright blaze, and then descend no more : 
Just so his inward heats, at height impair, 
Till the last burning breath shoots out the soul in air. 
Now lofty Calidon in ruins lies ; 769 

All ages, all degrees unsluice their eyes ; [and cries. 
\nd heav'n and earth resound with murmurs, groans, 
Matrons and maidens beat their breasts, and tear 
Their habits, and root up their scatter'd hair : 
The wretched father (father now no more), 
With sorrow sunk, lies prostrate on the floor, 775 
Deforms his hoary locks with dust obscene, 
And curses age, and loaths a life prolong'd with pain. 


By steel her stubborn soul his mother freed, 
And punish'd on herself her impious deed. 

Had I a hundred tongues, a wit so large 780 

As could their hundred offices discharge ; 
Had Phoebus all his Helicon bestowM 
In all the streams, inspiring all the god ; [vain 

Those tongues, that wit, those streams, that god in 
Would offer to describe his sisters' pain : 785 

They beat their breasts with many a bruising blow, 
Till they turn livid, and corrupt the snow. 
The corse they cherish, while the corse remains, 
And exercise, and rub, with fruitless pains; 
And when to fun'ral flames 'tis borne away, 790 

They kiss the bed on which the body lay : 
And when those fun'ral flames no longer burn 
(The dust compos'd within a pious urn), 
E'en in that urn their brother they confess, 794 

And hug it in their arms, and to their bosoms press. 

His tomb is rais'd ; then, stretch'd along the ground, 
Those living monuments his tomb surround. 
E'en to his name, inscrib'd, their tears they pay, 
Till tears, and kisses-wear his name away. 

But C ynthia now had all her fury spent, 800 

Not with less ruin than a race content: 
Excepting Gorge, perish'd all the seed, 
And * her whom heav'n for Hercules decreed. 
Satiate at last, no longer she pursu'd 
The weeping sisters ; but with wings endu'd, 80S 

And horny beaks, and sent to flit in air; 
Who yearly round the tomb in feather'd flocks repair. 

Theseus meanwhile acquitting well his share 
In the bold chase confed'rate like a war, 
To Athens' lofty tow'rs his march ordain'd, 810 

By Pallas lov'd, and where Erectheus reign'd. 
But Acheloiis stopp'd him on the way, 
By rains a deluge, and constrain'd his stay. 

O fam'd for glorious deeds, and great by blood, 
Rest here (says he), nor trust the rapid flood; 81 » 
Its solid oaks has from its margin tore, 
And rocky fragments down its current bore, 
* Deianira. 


The murmur hoarse, and terrible the roar. 
Oft have I seen herds with their sheltering fold 
Forc'd from the hanks, and in the torrent roll'd ; 820 
Nor strength the bulky steer from ruin freed, 
Nor matchless swiftness sav'd the racing steed. 
In cataracts, when the dissolving snow 
Falls from the hills, and floods the plains below; 
Toss'd by the eddies, with a giddy round, 825 

Strong youths are in the sucking whirlpools drown'd. 
'Tis best with me in safety to abide, 
Till usual bounds restrain the ebbing tide, 
And the low waters in their channel glide. 

Theseus persuaded, in compliance bow'd; 820 

So kind an offer, and advice so good, 
O Achelous, cannot be refus'd ; 
111 use them both, said he ; — and both he us'd. 

The grot he enter'd, pumice built the hall, 
And tophi made the rustic of the wall ; 835 

The floor, soft moss, an humid carpet spread, 
And various shells, the chequer'd roof inlaid. 
'Twas now the hour when the declining sun 
Two thirds had of his daily journey run; 
At the spread table Theseus took his place, 810 

Next his companions in the daring chase : 
Perithoiis here, there elder Lelex lay, 
His locks betraying age, with sprinkled gray. 
Acharnia's river-god dispos'd the rest, 
Grac'd with the equal honour of the feast, S4.5 

Elate with joy, and proud of such a guest. 
The nymphs were waiters, and, with naked feet, 
In order serv'd the courses of the meat. 
The banquet done, delicious wine they brought; 
Of one transparent gem the cup was wrought. 850 

Then the great hero of this gallant train, 
Surveying far the prospect of the main ; 
What is that land (says he), the waves embrace? 
(And with his finger pointed at the place;) 
Is it one parted isle which stands alone f 8 35 

How nam'd? and yet methinks it seems not one. 

To whom the wat'ry god made this reply : 
'Tis not one isle, but five ; distinct they lie; 
'Tis distance which deceives the cheated eye. 


But, that Diana's act may seem less strange, 860 

These once proud Naiads were, before their change. 

'Twas on a day more solemn than the rest, 

Ten bullocks slain, a sacrificial feast, 

The rural gods of all the region near 

They bid to dance, and taste the hallow'd cheer. 865 

Me they forgot ; affronted with the slight, 

My rage, and stream swell'd to the greatest height; 

And with the torrent of my flooding store, 

Large woods from woods, and fields from fields I tore. 

The guilty nymphs, oh ! then, rememb'ring me, 870 

I, with their country, wash'd into the sea ; 

And joining waters with the social main, 

Rent the gross land, and split the firm champaign. 

Since the Echinades, remote from shore 

Are view'd as many isles, as nymphs before. 875 

But yonder far, lo, yonder does appear 
An isle, apart to me for ever dear, 
From that (it sailors Perimele name) 
I doating, forc'd by rape a virgin's fame. 
Hippodamas's passion grew so strong, 880 

Gall'd with th' abuse, and fretted at the wrong, 
He threw his pregnant daughter from a rock ; 
I spread my waves beneath, and broke the shock ; 
And as her swimming weight my stream convey'd, 
I 3u'd for help divine, and thus I pray'd : 835 

O pow'rful Thou, whose trident does command 
The realm of waters, which surround the land ; 
We sacred rivers, wheresoe'er begun, 
End in thy lot, and to thy empire run, 
With favour hear, and help with present aid ; 890 
Her whom I bear, 'twas guilty I betray'd. 
Yet if her father had been just, or mild, 
He would have been less impious to his child ; 
In her, have pity'd force in the abuse ; 
In me, admitted love for my excuse. 895 

O, let, relief for her hard case be found, 
Her whom paternal rage expell'd from ground, 
Her whom paternal rage relentless drown'd. 
Grant her some place, or change her to a place, 
Which I may ever clasp with my embrace. 900 


His nodding head the sea's great Ruler bent, 

And all his waters shook ■with his assent. 

The nymph still swam, though with the fright distrest. 

I felt her heart leap, trembling in her breast : 

But hard'ning soon, whilst I her pulse explore, 905 

A crusting earth cas'd her stiff body o'er ; 

And, as accretions of new cleaving soil 

Enlarg'd the mass, the nymph became an isle. 

Thus Acheloiis ends : his audience hear 
With admiration, and admiring, fear 910 

The pow'rs of heav'n; except Ixion's son, 
Who laugh'd at all the gods, believ'd in none ; 
He shook his impious head, and thus replies: 
These legends are no more than pious lies ; 
You attribute too much to heav'nly sway, 915 

To think they give us forms, and take away. 

The rest, of better minds, their sense declar'd 
Against this doctrine, and with horror heard. 
Then Lelex rose, an old, experienc'd man, 
And thus with sober gravity began : 920 

Heav'n's pow'r is infinite; earth, air, and sea, 
The manufactur'd mass, the making pow'r obey ; 
By proof to clear your doubt; In Phrygian ground 
Two neighb'ring trees, with walls encompass'd rouuil, 
Stand on a mod'rate rise, with wonder shewn, 9'25 
One a hard oak, a softer linden one : 
I saw the place, and them, by Pittheus sent 
To Phrygian realms, my grandsire's government. 
Not far from thence is seen a lake, the haunt 
Of coots, and of the fishing cormorant : 930 

Here Jove with Hermes came ; but in disguise 
Of mortal men conceal'd their deities ; 
One laid aside his thunder, one his rod ; 
And many toilsome steps together trod : 
For harbour at a thousand doors they knock'd ; 935 
Not one of all the thousand but was lock'd. 
At last an hospitable house they found ; 
A homely shed ; the roof, not far from ground, 
Was thatch'd with reeds and straw together bound. 

There Baucis and Philemon liv'd, and there 940 
Had liv'd long married, and a happy pair: 


Now old in love, though little was their store, 

Inur'd to want, their poverty they bore, 

Nor aim'd at wealth, professing to be poor. 

For master, or for servant, here to call, 945 

Was all alike, where only two were all ; 

Command was none, where equal love was paid ; 

Or rather both commanded, both obey*d. 

From lofty roofs the gods repuls'd before, 
Now stooping, enterM through the little door : 950 
The man (their hearty welcome first express'd) 
A common settle drew for either guest, 
Inviting each his weary limbs to rest : 
But ere they sate, officious Baucis lays 
Two cushions stufPd with straw, the seat to raise; 955 
Coarse, but the best she had ; then rakes the load 
Of ashes from the hearth, and spreads abroad 
The living coals : and, lest they should expire, 
With leaves and bark she feeds her infant fire : 
It smokes; and then, with trembling breath she blows, 
Till in a cheerful blaze the flames arose ; 961 

With brush-wood and with chips she strengthens these, 
And adds at last the boughs of rotten trees. 
The fire thus form'd, she sets the kettle on 
(Like burnish'd gold the little seether shone) ; 965 
Next took the coleworts which her husband got 
From his own ground (a small well water'd spot) ; 
She stripp'd the stalks of all their leaves ; the best 
She cull'd, and them with handy care she dress'd. 
High o'er the hearth a chine of bacon hung; 970 

Good old Philemon seiz'd it with a prong, 
And from the sooty rafter drew it down ; 
Then cut a slice, but scarce enough for one ; 
Yet a large portion of a little store, 
Which, for their sakes alone, he wish'd were more. 
This in the pot he plung'd without delay, 976 

To tame the flesh, and drain the salt away. 
The time between, before the fire they sat, 
And shorten'd the delay by pleasing chat. 

A beam there was, on which a beechen pail 980 
Hung by the handle, on a driv'n nail : 
This fill'd with water, gently warm'd, they set 
Before their guests : in this they bath'd their feet, 


And after with clean towels dried their sweat. 

This done, the host produc'd the genial hed, 985 

Sallow the feet, the borders, and the stead; 

Which with no costly coverlet they spread, 

But coarse old garments : yet such robes as these 

They laid alone, at feasts, or holidays. 

The good old housewife, tucking up her gown, 990 

The table sets : th' invited gods lie down. 

The trivet-table of a foot was lame, 

A blot which prudent Baucis overcame, 

Who thrusts beneath the limping leg a sherd, 

So was the mended board exactly rear'd : 995 

Then rubb'd it o'er with newly gather'd mint, 

A wholesome herb that breath'd a grateful scent. 

Pallas began the feast, where first was seen 

The parti-colour'd olive, black, and green : 

Autumnal cornels next in order serv'd, 1000 

In lees of wine, well pickled and preserv'd. 

A garden salad was the third supply, 

Of endive, radishes, and succory: 

Then curds and cream, the flow'r of country fare, 

And new-laid eggs, which Baucis' busy care 1005 

Turn'd by a gentle fire, and roasted rare. 

AH these in earthen-ware were serv'd to board; 

And next in place, an earthen pitcher, stor'd 

With liquor of the best the cottage could afford. 

This was the table's ornament, and pride, 1010 

With figures wrought: like pages at his side 

Stood beechen bowls; and these were shining clean, 

Varnished with wax without, and lin'd within. 

By this the boiling kettle had prepar'd, 

And to the table sent the smoking lard; 1015 

On which with eager appetite they dine, 

A sav'ry bit, that serv'd to relish wine : 

The wine itself was suiting to the rest, 

Still working in the must, and lately press'd. 

The second course succeeds like that before, 1020 

Plums, apples, nuts, and of their wintry store 

Dry figs, and grapes, and wrinkled dates were set, 

In canisters, t' enlarge the little treat : 

All these a milk-white honey-comb surround, 

Which in the midst the country banquet crown'd : . 


But the kind hosts their entertainment grace 1026 
With hearty welcome, and an open face : 
In all they did, you might discern with ease, 
A willing mind, and a desire to please. 

Meantime the beechen bowls went round, 

and still, 1030 

Though often emptied, were observed to fill : 
Fill'd without hands, and of their own accord 
Ran without feet, and danc'd about the board. 
Devotion seiz'd the pair, to see the feast 
With wine, and of no common grape increas'd ; 1085 
And up they held their hands, and fell to pray'r, 
Excusing, as they could, their country fare. 

One goose they had ('twas all they could allow) ; 
A wakeful sentry, and on duty now ; 
Whom to the gods for sacrifice they vow: 1040 

Her with malicious zeal the couple view'd; 
She ran for life, and limping they pursu'd: 
Full well the fowl perceiv'd the bad intent, 
And would not make her master's compliment ; 
But persecuted, to the Pow'rs she flies, 1045 

And close between the legs of Jove she lies; 
He, with a gracious ear, the suppliant heard, 
And sav'd her life; then what he was declar'd, 
And own'd the god. The neighbourhood (said he) 
Shall justly perish for impiety : 1050 

Ye stand alone exempted : but obey 
With speed, and follow where we lead the way : 
Leave these accurst ; and to the mountain's height 
Ascend ; nor once look backward in your flight. 

They haste, and, what their tardy feet deny'd, 1055 
The trusty staff" (their better leg) supply'd. 
An arrow's flight they wanted to the top, 
And there secure, but spent with travel, stop ; 
Then turn their now no more forbidden eyes; — 
Lost in a lake the floated level lies: 10 60 

A wat'ry desert covers all the plains ; 
Their cot alone, as in an isle, remains. 
Wond'ring with weeping eyes, while they deplore 
Their neighbours' fate, and country now no more, 
Their little shed, scarce large enough for two, 10(55 


Seems, from the ground increas'd, in height and bulk 
A stately temple shoots within the skies, [to grow. 
The crotchets of their cot in columns rise : 
The pavement polish'd marble they behold, [of gold. 
The gates with sculpture grac'd, the spires and tiles 

Then thus the sire of gods, with looks serene: 1071 
Speak thy desire, thou only just of men; 
And thou, O woman, only worthy found 
To be with such a man in marriage bound. 

Awhile they whisper ; then to Jove address'd, 1075 
Philemon thus prefers their joint request : 
We crave to serve before your sacred shrine, 
And offer at your altars rites divine: 
And since not any action of our life 
Has been polluted with domestic strife; 10SO 

We beg one hour of death, that neither she, 
With widow's tears, may live to bury me, 
Nor weeping I, with wither'd arms, may bear 
My breathless Baucis to the sepulchre. 

The godheads sign their suit. They run their race 
In the same tenour all th' appointed space : 108f> 

Then, when their hour was come, while they relate 
These past adventures at the temple-gate. 
Old Baucis is by old Philemon seen 
Sprouting with sudden leaves of sprightly green: 
Old Baucis look'd where old Philemon stood, 1091 
And saw his lengthened arms a sprouting wood ; 
New roots their fasten'd feet begin to bind, 
Their bodies stiffen in a rising rind : 
Then, ere the bark above their shoulders grew, 1005 
They give, and take at once their last adieu. 
At once, Farewell, O faithful spouse ! they said : 
At once th' incroaching rinds their closing lips invade. 
E'en yet, an ancient Tyanasan shews 
A spreading oak, that near a linden grows ; 1100 

The neighbourhood confirm the prodigy, 
Grave men, not vain of tongue, or like to lie. 
I saw myself the garlands on their boughs. 
And tablets hung for gifts of granted vows; 
And, off'ring fresher up, with pious pray'r, 1 105 

The good (said I) are God's peculiar care, [share. 

And such as honour Heav'n, shall heav'nly honour 


He ceas'd in his relation to proceed; 
Whilst all admir'd the author and the deed; 
But Theseus, most inquisitive to know 1110 

From gods what wondrous alterations grow. 
Whom thus the Calidonian stream address'd, 
Rais'd high to speak, the couch his elbow press'd : 
Some, when transform'd, fix in the lasting change ; 
Some with more right, through various figures range. 
Proteus, thus large thy privilege was found, 1116 

Thou inmate of the seas, which earth surround, 
Sometimes a blooming youth you graced the shore; 
Oft a fierce lion, or a furious boar; 
With glist'ring spires now seem'd an hissing snake, 
The bold would tremble in his hands to take ; 1121 
With horns assum'd a bull ; sometimes you prov'd 
A tree by roots, a stone by weight unmovM ; 
Sometimes two wav'ring contraries became, 
Flow'd down in water, or aspir'd in flame. 1125 


In various shapes thus to deceive the eyes, 
Without a settled stint of her disguise, 
Rash Erisichthon's daughter had the pow'r, 
And brought it to Autolicus in dow'r. 
Her atheist sire the slighted gods defy'd, 1130 

And ritual honours to their shrines deny'd. 
As fame reports, his hand an axe sustain'd, 
Which Ceres' consecrated grove profan'd ; 
Which durst the venerable gloom invade, 
And violate, with light, the awful shade. 1135 

An ancient oak in the dark centre stood, 
The covert's glory, and itself a wood: 
Garlands embrac'd its shaft, and from the boughs 
Hung tablets, monuments of prosp'rous vows. 
In the cool du3k its unpierc'd verdure spread 1140 
The Dryads oft their hallow'd dances led ; 
And oft when round their gaging arms they cast; 
Pull fifteen ells it measur'd in the waist : 
Its height all under standards did surpass, 
As they aspir'd above the humbler grass. 1145 

These motives which would gentler minds restrain, 
Could not make Triope's bold son abstain ; 
He sternly charg'd his slaves with strict decree, 


To fell with gnashing steel the sacred tree. 

But whilst they ling'ring, his commands delay'd, 1150 

He snatch'd an axe, and thus blaspheming said : 

Was this no oak, nor Ceres' fav'rite care, 

But Ceres' self, this arm, unaw'd should dare 

Its leafy honours in the dust to spread, 

And level with the earth its airy head. 1155 

He spoke, and as he pois'd a slanting stroke, 
Sighs heav'd, and tremblings shook the frighted oak ; 
Its leaves look'd sickly, pale its acorns grew, 
And its long branches sweat a chilly dew. 
But when his impious hand a wound bestow'd, 1 160 
Blood from the mangled bark in currents flow'd. 
When a devoted bull of mighty size, 
A sinning nation's grand atonement, dies, 
With such a plenty from the spouting veins, 
A crimson stream the turfy altar stains. 1165 

The wonder all amaz'd : yet one more bold, 
The fact dissuading, strove his axe to hold ; 
But the Thessalian, obstinately bent, 
Too proud to change, too harden'd to repent, 
On his kind monitor, his eyes, which burn'd 1170 
With rage, and with his eyes his weapon turn'd; 
Take the reward (says he) of pious dread; — 
Then with a blow lopp'd off his parted head. 
No longer check'd, the wretch his crime pursu'd, 
Doubled his strokes, and sacrilege renew'd ; 1175* 

When from the groaning trunk a voice was 

heard, — 
' A Dryad I, by Ceres' love preferr'd, 
Within the circle of this clasping rind 
Coeval grew, and now in ruin join'd ; 
But instant vengeance shall thy sin pursue, 1 180 

And death is cheer'd with this prophetic view.' 
At last the oak with cords enforc'd to bow, 
Strain'd from the top, and sapp'd with wounds below. 
The humbler wood, partaker of its fate, 1184 

Crush'd with its fall, and shiver'd with its weight. 

The grove destroy'd, the sister Dryads moan, 
Griev'd at its loss, and frighted at their own. 
Straight suppliants for revenge, to Ceres go, 
In sable weeds, expressive of their woe. 


The beauteous goddess, with a graceful air, 1190 
Bow'd in consent, and nodded to their pray'r. 
The awful motion shook the fruitful ground, 
And wavM the fields with golden harvests crown'd. 
Soon she contrived in her projecting mind 
A plague severe, and piteous in its kind 1195 

(If plagues for crimes of such presumptuous height 
Could pity in the softest breast create); 
With pinching want, and hunger's keenest smart, 
To tear his vitals, and corrode his heart. 
But since her near approach, by fate 's denied 1200 
To famine, and broad climes their pow'rs divide, 
A nymph, the mountain's ranger, she address'd, 
And thus resolv'd, her high commands express'd : 

Where frozen Scythia's utmost bound is plac'd, 
A desert lies, a melancholy waste ; 1205 

In yellow crops there Nature never smil'd, 
No fruitful tree to shade the barren wild: 
There sluggish Cold its icy station makes, 
There Paleness frights, and aguish Trembling shakes. 
Of pining Famine this the fated seat, 1210 

To whom my orders in these words repeat : 
Bid her this miscreant, with her sharpest pains, 
Chastise, and sheath herself into his veins ; 
Be unsubdu'd by Plenty's baffled store, 
Reject my empire, and defeat my pow'r. 1215 

And, lest the distance, and the tedious way, 
Should with the toil, and long fatigue dismay, 
Ascend my chariot, and convey'd on high, 
Guide the rein'd dragons through the parting sky. 

The nymph, accepting of the granted car, 1220 

Sprang to the seat, and posted through the air ; 
Nor stopp'd till she to a bleak mountain came, 
Of wondrous height, and Caucasus its name. 
There in a stony field, the fiend she found, 
Herbs gnawing, and roots scratching from the ground. 
Her elflock hair in matted tresses grew ; 1226 

Sunk were her eyes, and pale her ghastly hue; 
Wan were her lips, and foul with clammy glue. 
Her throat was furr'd, her guts appear'd within 
With snaky crawlings thro' her parchment skin. 1230 


Her jutting hips seem'd starting from their place, 
And for a belly was a belly's space. 
Her dugs hung dangling from her craggy spine, 
Loose to her breast, and fasten'd to her chine ; 
Her joints protuberant by leanness grown, 1235 

Consumption sunk the flesh, and rais'd the bone. 
Her knees' large orbits bunch'd to monstrous size, 
And ancles to undue proportion rise. 

This plague the nymph, not daring to draw near, 
At distance hail'd, and greeted from afar. 1240 

And though she told her charge without delay, 
Though her arrival late, and short her stay, 
She felt keen famine, or she seem'd to feel, 
Invade her blood, and on her vitals steal. 
She turn'd from the infection to remove, 1245 

And back to Thessaly the serpents drove. 

The fiend obey'd the goddess's command 
(Though their effects in opposition stand); 
She cut her way, supported by the wind, 1249 

And reach'd the mansion by the nymph assign'd. 

'Twas night, when ent'ring Erisichthon's room, 
Dissolv'd in sleep, and thoughtless of his doom, 
She clasp'd his limbs, by impious labour tir'd, 
With battish wings, but her whole self inspir'd; 
Breath'd on his throat and chest a tainting blast, 
And in his veins infus'd an endless fast. 1250 

The task dispatch'd, away the fury flies 
From plenteous regions, and from rip'ning skies ; 
To her old barren north she wings her speed, 
And cottages distress'd with pinching need. 12G0 

Still slumbers Erisichthon's senses drown, 
And soothe his fancy with their softest down. 
He dreams of viands delicate to eat, 
And revels on imaginary meat; 1264 

Chews with his working mouth, but chews in vain, 
And tires his grinding teeth with fruitless pain ; 
Deludes his throat with visionary fare, 
Feasts on the wind, and banquets on the air. 

The morning came, the night, and slumbers past, 
But still the furious pangs of hunger last; 1270 

The cank'rous rage still gnaws with griping pains, 


Stings in his throat, and in his bowels reigns. 
Straight he requires, impatient in demand, 
Provisions from the air, the seas, the land : 
But, though the land, air, seas, provisions grant, 1275 
Starves at full tables, and complains of want. 
What to a people might in dole be paid, 
Or victual cities for a long blockade, 
Could not one wolfish appetite assuage; 
For, glutting nourishment increas'd its rage. 1280 

As rivers pour'd from ev'ry distant shore, 
The sea insatiate drinks, and thirsts for inore : 
Or as the fire, which all materials burns, 
And wasted forests into ashes turns, 
Grows more voracious, as the more it preys, 1285 

Recruits dilate the flame, and spread the blaze : 
So impious Erisichthon's hunger raves, 
Receives refreshments, and refreshments craves. 
Food raises a desire for food, and meat 
Is but a new provocative to eat. 1290 

He grows more empty, as the more supplied. 
And endless cramming but extends the void. 

Now riches hoarded by paternal care 
Were sunk, the glutton swallowing up the heii*. 
Yet the devouring flame no stores abate, 1295 

Nor less his hunger grew with his estate. 
One daughter left, as left his keen desire, 
A daughter worthy of a better sire : 
Her too he sold, spent nature to sustain ; 
She scorn'd a lord with generous disdain, 1300 

And flying, spread her hands upon the main. 
Then pray'd: Grant thou, I bondage may escape, 
And with my liberty reward thy rape ; 
Repay my virgin treasure with thy aid 1304 

('Twas Neptune who deflower'd the beauteous maid). 

The god was mov'd at what the fair had su'd ; 
When she, so lately by her master view'd 
In her known figure, on a sudden took 
A fisher's habit, and a manly look. 
To whom her owner hasted to inquire; 1310 

O thou (said he), whose baits hide treach'rous wire ; 
Whose art can manage, with experienc'd skill 
The taper angle, and the bobbing quill, 


So may the sea be ruffled with no storm, 
But smooth with calms, as you the truth inform ; 
So your deceit may no shy fishes feel, 1316 

Till struck, and fasten'd on the bearded steel. 
Did not you, standing, view upon the strand 
A wand'ringmaid? I'm sure I saw her stand; 
Her hair disorder'd, and her homely dress 1320 

Betray'd her want, and witness'd her distress. 
Me, heedless (she reply'd), whoe'er you are, 
Excuse, attentive to another care. 
I settled on the deep my steady eye, 
Fix'd on my float, and bent on my employ. 1325 

And that you may not doubt what I impart, 
So may the ocean's god assist my art, 
If on the beach since I my sport pursu'd, 
Or man, or woman but myself I view'd. 

Back o'er the sands, deluded, he withdrew, 1330 
Whilst she for her old form put off her new. 

Her sire, her shifting pow'r to change perceiv'd, 
And various chapmen by her sale deceiv'd. 
A fowl, with spangled plumes, a brinded steer, 
Sometimes a crested mare, or antler'd deer: 1335 

Sold for a price she parted, to maintain 
Her starving parent with dishonest gain. 

At last all means, as all provisions, fail'd; 
For the disease by remedies prevail'd; 
His muscles, with a furious bite, he tore, 1340 

Gorg'd his own tatter'd flesh, and gulp'd his gore. 
Wounds were his feast, his life to life a prey, 
Supporting nature by its own decay. 

But foreign stories why should 1 relate 1 
1, too, myself can to new forms translate, 1315 

Though the variety 's not unconfin'd, 
But fixt in number, and restrain'd in kind : 
For often I this present shape retain, 
Oft curl a snake the volumes of my train. 
Sometimes my strength into my horns transferr'd, 
A bull I march, the captain of the herd. 1351 

But whilst I once those goring weapons wore, 
Vast wrestling force one from my forehead tore. 
Lo, my maim'd brows the injury still own. 
He ceas'd ; his words concluding with a groan. 1355 



The story of Acheloiis and Hercules. The death of Nessus the 
Centaur. The death of Hercules. The transformation of Ly- 
chas into a rock. The apotheosis of Hercules. The transfor- 
mation of Galanthis. The fable of Dryope. Iolaiis restored 
to youth. The prophecy of Themis. The debate of the Gods. 
The passion of Byblis. The fable of Iphis and Iiinthe. 

Theseus requests the god to tell his woes, [arose ? 

Whence his maim'd brow, and whence his groans 

When thus the Calidonian stream reply'd, 

With twining reeds his careless tresses tied : 

Ungrateful is the tale; for who can bear, 5 

When conquer'd, to rehearse the shameful war? 

Yet I'll the melancholy story trace ; 

So great a conqu'ror softens the disgrace : 

Nor was it still so mean the prize to yield, 

As great and glorious to dispute the field. 10 

Perhaps you've heard of Deianira's name, 
For all the country spoke her beauty's fame. 
Long was the nymph by num'rous suitors woo'd, 
Each with address his envied hopes pursu'd : 
I join'd the loving band ; to gain the fair, '15 

Reveal' d my passion to her father's ear. 
Their vain pretensions all the rest resign, 
Alcides only strove to equal mine; 
He boasts his birth from Jove, recounts his spoils, 
His stepdame's hate subdu'd, and finish'd toils. 20 

Can mortal then (said I) with gods compare ? 
Behold a god ; mine is the wat'ry care : 
Through your wild realms I take my mazy way, 
Branch into streams, and o'er the region stray : 
No foreign guest your daughter's charms adores, 25 
But one who rises in your native shores. 
Let not his punishment your pity move ; 
Is Juno's hate an argument for love ? 
Though you your life from fair Alcmena drew, 
Jove's a feign'd father, or by fraud a true. 30 

Choose, then; confess thy mother's honour lost, 
Or thy descent from Jove no longer boast. 


While thus I spoke, he look'd with stem disdain, 
Nor could the sallies of his wrath restrain, 
Which thus break forth : This arm decides our right : 
Vanquish in words, he mine the prize in fight. 36 

Bold he rush'd on. My honour to maintain, 
I fling my verdant garments on the plain, 
My arms stretch forth, my pliant limbs prepare, 
And, with bent hands, expect the furious war. 40 
O'er my sleek skin now gather'd dust he throws, 
And yellow sand his mighty muscles strews, 
Oft he my neck and nimble legs assails, 
He seems to grasp me, but as often fails. 
Eavh part he now invades with eager hand; 45 

Safe in my bulk immoveable I stand. 
So when loud storms break high, and foam and roar 
Against some mole, that stretches from the shore ; 
The firm foundation lasting tempests braves, 
Defies the warring winds and driving waves. 50 

Awhile we breathe, then forward rush amain, 
Renew the combat, and our ground maintain ; 
Foot strove with foot, I prone extend my breast, 
Hands war with hands, and forehead forehead press'd. 
Thus have I seen two furious bulls engage, 55 

Inflam'd with equal love, and equal rage : 
Each claims the fairest heifer of the grove, 
And conquest only can decide their love : 
The trembling herds survey the fight from far, 
Till victory decides the important war. 60 

Three times, in vain, he strove my joints to wrest, 
To force my hold, and throw me from his breast ; 
The fourth he broke my gripe that clasp'd him round, 
Then, with new force he stretch'd me on the ground ; 
Close to my back the mighty burthen clung, 65 

As if a mountain o'er my limbs were flung. 
Believe my tale ; nor do I, boastful, aim 
By feign'd narration to extol my fame. 
No sooner from his grasp I freedom get, 
Unlock my arms that flow'd with trickling sweat, 70 
But quick he eeiz'd me, and renew'd the strife, 
As my exhausted bosom pants for life : 
My neck he gripes, my knee to earth he strains ; 
J fall, and bite the sand with shame, and pains. 

BOOK IX. 223 

O'ermatch'd in strength, to wiles and arts I take, 
And slip his hold, in forni of speckled snake ; 7G 

Who, when I wreath'din spires my body round, 
Or shew'd my forky tongue, with hissing sound, 
Smiles at my threats ; — such foes my cradle knew, 
He cries, dire snakes my infant hand o'erthrew ; SO 
A dragon's form might other conquests gain ; 
To war with me, you take that shape in vain. 
Art thou proportion'd to the hydra's length, 
Who, by his wounds, recerv'd augmented strength? 
He rais'd a hundred hissing heads in air, 85 

When one I lopt, up sprang a dreadful pair. 
By his wounds fertile, and with slaughter strong, 
Singly I quell'd him, and stretch'd dead along. 
What canst thou do, a form precarious, prone, 
To rouse my rage with terrors not thy own 1 90 

He 3aid ; and round my neck his hands he cast, 
And, with his straining fingers, wrung me fast; 
My throat he tortur'd, close as pincers clasp, 
In vain I strove to loose the forceful grasp. 

Thus vanquish'd too, a third form still remains, 95 
Chang'd to a bull, my lowing fills the plains. 
Straight on the left his nervous arms were thrown 
Upon my brindled neck, and tugg'd it down ; 
Then deep he struck my horn into the sand, 
And fell'd my bulk among the dusty land. 100 

Nor yet his fury cool'd; 'twixt rage and scorn, 
From my maim'd front he tore the stubborn horn : 
This, heap'd with flow'rs and fruits, the Naiads bear, 
Sacred to plenty, and the bounteous year. 

He spoke ; when lo, a beauteous nymph appears, 
Girt like Diana's train, with flowing hairs ; 106 

The horn she brings, in which all autumn stov'd, 
And ruddy apples for the second board. 

Now morn begins to dawn, the sun's bright fire 
Gilds the high mountains, and the youths retire ; 110 
Nor stay'd they, till the troubled stream subsides, 
And in its bounds with peaceful current glides. 
But Achelous in his oozy bed 
Deep hides his brow deform'd, and rustic head : 
No real wound the victor's triumphs shew'd, 115 

But his lost honours griev'd the wat'ry god ; 


Yet e'en that loss the willow's leaves o'erspread; 
And verdant reeds, in garlands, bind his head. 

This virgin, too, thy love, O Nessus, found ; 
To her alone you owe the fatal wound. 120 

As the strong son of Jove his bride conveys, 
Where his paternal lands their bulwarks raise ; 
Where from her slopy urn Evenus pours 
Her rapid current, swell'd by wint'ry show'rs, 
He came. The frequent eddies whirled the tide, 125 
And the deep-rolling waves all pass deny'd. 
As for himself, he stood unmov'd by fears, 
For now his bridal charge employ'd his cares. 
The strong-limb'd Nessus thus officious cry'd 
(For he the shallows of the stream had try'd), 130 
Swim thou, Alcides, all thy strength prepare, 
On yonder bank I'll lodge thy nuptial care. 

Th' Abnian chief to Nessus trusts his wife, 
All pale, and trembling for her hero's life : 
Cloth'd as he stood in the fierce lion's hide, 135 

The laden quiver o'er his shoulder tied 
(For cross the stream his bow and club were cast), 
Swift he plung'd in ; these billows shall be past, 
He said; nor sought, where smoother waters glide, 
But stemm'd the rapid dangers of the tide. 140 

The bank he reach'd ; again the bow he bears ; 
When, hark! his bride's known voice alarms his ears. 
Nessus, to thee I call (aloud he cries), 
Vain is thy trust in flight, be timely wise : 
Thou monster double-shap'd, my right set free ; 145 
If thou no rev'rence owe my fame and me, 
Yet kindred should thy lawless lust deny ; 
Think not, perfidious wretch, from me to fly, 
Though wing'd with horse's speed; wounds shall 

pursue : 
Swift as his words, the fatal arrow flew : 150 

The Centaur's back admits the feather'd wood, 
And through his breast the barbed weapon stood ; 
Which, when in anguish, through the flesh he tore, 
From both the wounds gush'd forth the spumy gore, 
Mix'd with Lernaean venom ; this he took, 155 

Nor dire revenge his dying breast forsook. 

BOOK IX. 225 

His garment, in the reeking purple dy'd, 
To rouse love's passion, he presents the bride. 

Now a long interval of time succeeds, 
When the great son of Jove's immortal deeds, ] 60 
And stepdame's hate had fill'd earth's utmost round ; 
He from (Echalia, with new laurels crown'd, 
In triumph was return'd. He rites prepares, 
And to the king of gods directs hi3 pray'rs ; 
When Fame (who falsehood clothes in truth's disguise, 
And swells her little bulk with growing lies) 1GG 

Thy tender ear, O Deianira, mov'd, 
That Hercules the fair lole lov'd. 
Her love believes the tale; the truth she fears 
Of his new passion, and gives way to tears. 170 

The flowing tears diffus'd her wretched grief. 
Why seek I thus, from streaming eyes, relief? 
She cries ; indulge not thus these fruitless cares, 
The harlot will but triumph in thy tears: 
Let something be resolv'd, while yet there's time j 
My bed not conscious of a rival's crime. 176 

In silence shall I mourn, or loud complain? 
Shall I seek Calidon, or here remain? 
What though, allied to Meleager's fame, 
I boast the honours of a sister's name ? 180 

My wrongs, perhaps, now urge me to pursue 
Some desp'rate deed, by which the world shall view 
How far revenge, and woman's rage can rise, 
When, welt'ring in her blood, the harlot dies. 

Thus various passions rul'd by turns her breast, 185 
She now resolves to send the fatal vest, 
Died with Lernsean gore, whose pow'r might move 
His soul anew, and rouse declining love. 
Nor knew she what her sudden rage bestows, 
When she to Lychas trusts her future woes; 190 

With soft endearments she the boy commands, 
To bear the garment to her husband's hands. 
Th* unwitting hero takes the gift in haste, 
And o'er his shoulders Lerna's poison cast, 
As first the fire with frankincense he strews, ^ 195 
And utters to the gods his holy vows ; 
And on the marble altar's polish'd frame 
L 2 


Pours forth the grapy stream ; the rising flame 

Sudden dissolves the subtle pois'nous juice, 

Which taints his blood, and all his nerves bedews. 

With wonted fortitude he bore the smart, 201 

And not a groan confess'd his burning heart. 

At length his patience was subdu'd by paia, 

He rends the sacred altar from the plain ; 

Gate's wide forests echo with his cries : 205 

Now to rip off the deathful robe he tries. 

Where'er he plucks the vest, the skin he tears, 

The mangled muscles, and huge bones he bears, 

(A ghastly sight !) or raging with his pain, 

To rend the sticking plague he tugs in vain. 210 

As the red iron hisses in the flood, 
So boils the venom in his curdling blood. 
Now with the greedy flame his entrails glow, 
And livid sweats down all his body flow ; 
The cracking nerves, burnt up, are burst in twain, 215 
The lurking venom melts his swimming brain. 

Then, lifting both his hands aloft, he cries: 
Glut thy revenge, dread empress of the skies; 
Sate with my death the rancour of thy heart, 
Look down with pleasure, and enjoy my smart. 220 
Or, if e'er pity mov'd a hostile breast 
(For here I stand thy enemy profest), 
Take hence this hateful life, with tortures torn, 
Inur'd to trouble, and to labours born. 
Death is the gift most welcome to my woe, 225 

And such a gift a stepdame may bestow. 
Was it for this Busiris was subdu'd, [blood ? 

Whose barb'rous temples reek'd with stranger's 
Press'd in these arms, his fate Antaeus found, 
Nor gain'd recruited vigour from the ground. 230 

Did I not triple-form'd Geryon fell ? 
Or did I fear the triple dog of hell ? 
Did not these hands the bull's arm'd forehead hold? 
Are not our mighty toils in Elis told ? 
Do not Stymphalian lakes proclaim thy fame? 235 
And fair Parthenian woods resound thy name? 
Who seiz'd the golden belt of Thermodon ? 
And who the dragon-guarded apples won ? [stand ? 
Could the fierce Centaur's strength my force with- 

BOOK IX. 227 

Or the fell boar that spoil'd th' Arcadian land 1 240 
Did not these arms the hydra's rage subdue, 
Who from his wounds to double fury grew? 
What if the Thracian horses, fat with gore, 
Who human bodies in their mangers tore, 
I saw, and, with their barb'rous lord, o'erthrew? 246 
What if these hands Nemasa's lion slew 1 
Did not this neck the heav'nly globe sustain ? 
The female partner of the Thund'rer's reign 
Fatigu'd, at length suspends her harsh commands, 
Yet no fatigue hath slack'd these valiant hands. 250 
But now new plagues pursue me, neither force, 
Nor arms, nor darts can stop their raging course. 
Devouring flame through my rack'd entrails strays, 
And on my lungs and shrivell'd muscles preys. 
Yet still Eurystheus breathes the vital air. 255 

What mortal now shall seek the gods with pray'r? 

The hero said ; and with the torture stung, 
Furious o'er Gate's lofty hills he sprung. 
Stuck with the shaft, thus scours the tiger round, 
And seeks the flying author of his wound. 260 

Now might you see him trembling, now he rents 
His anguish'd soul in groans, and loud laments; 
He strives to tear the clinging vest in vain, 
And with up-rooted forests strews the plain : 
Now kindling into rage his hands he rears, 265 

And to his kindred gods directs his pray'rs; 
When Lychas, lo, he spies; who trembling flew, 
And in a hollow rock conceal' d from view, 
Had shunn'd his wrath. Now grief renew'd his pain, 
His madness chaf'd, and thus he raves again: 270 
Lychas, to thee alone my fate I owe, 
Who bore the gift, the cause of all my woe. 

The youth all pale, with shiv'ring fear was stung, 
And vain excuses falter'd on his tongue. 
Alcides snatch'd him, as with suppliant face 275 

He strove to clasp his knees, and beg for grace: 
He toss'd him o'er his head with airy course, 
And hurl'd with more than with an engine's force. 
Far o'er th' Eubcean main aloof he flies, 
And hardens, by degrees, amid the skies. 280 

So show'ry drops, when chilly tempests blow, 


Thicken at first, then whiten into snow ; 

In balls congeal'd the rolling fleeces hound, 

In solid hail result upon the ground. 284 

Thus whirl'd with nervous force through distant air, 

The purple tide forsook his veins, with fear ; 

All moisture left his limbs. Transform'd to stone, 

In ancient days the craggy flint was known ; 

Still in th' Euboean waves his front he rears, 

Still the small rock in human form appears, 290 

And still the name of hapless Lychas bears. 

But now the hero of immortal birth 
Fells QSte's forests on the groaning earth ; 
A pile he builds y to Philoctetes' care 
He leaves his deathful instruments of war: 295 

To him commits those arrows, which again 
Shall see the bulwarks of the Trojan reign. 
The son of Paean lights the lofty pyre, 
High round the structure climbs the greedy fire ; 
Plac'd on the top, thy nervous shoulders spread 300 
With the Nemaean spoils, thy careless head 
Rais'd on the knotty club, with look divine, 
Here thou, dread hero, of celestial line, 
Wert stretch'd at ease ; as when a cheerful guest, 
Wine crown'd thy bowls, and flow'rs thy temples 

dress'd. 305 

Now on all sides the potent flames aspire, 
And crackle round those limbs that mock the fire : 
A sudden terror seiz'd th' immortal host, 
Who thought the world's profest defender lost. 309 
This when the Thund'rer saw, with smiles he cries : 
'Tis from your fears, ye gods, my pleasures rise ; 
Joy swells my breast, that my all-ruling hand 
O'er such a grateful people boasts command, 
That you my suffering progeny would aid ; 
Though to his deeds this just respect be paid, 315 

Me you've oblig'd. Be all your fears forborne, 
Th' CEtean fires do thou, great hero, scorn. 
Who vanquish'd all things, shall subdue the flame. 
That part alone of gross maternal frame 
Fire shall devour ; while what from me he drew 320 
Shall live immortal, and its force subdue; 

BOOK IX. 229 

That, when he's dead, I'll raise to realms ahnve ; 

May all the pow'rs the righteous act approve. 

If any god dissent, and judge too great 

The sacred honours of the heav'nly seat, 325 

E'en he shall own his deeds deserve the sky, 

E'en he reluctant, shall at length comply. 

The assembled pow'rs assent. No frown till now 

Had mark'd with passion vengeful Juno's brow. 

Meanwhile, whate'er was in the pow'r of flame 330 

Was all consum'd ; his body's nervous frame 

No more was known ; of human form bereft, 

Th' eternal part of Jove alone was left. 

As an old serpent casts his scaly vest, 

Wreathes in the sun, in youthful glory drest ; 335 

So when Alcides mortal mould resign'd, 

His better .part enlarg'd, and grew refin'd ; 

August his visage shone ; almighty Jove 

In his swift car his honour'd offspring drove ; 

High o'er the hollow clouds the coursers fly, 340 

And lodge the hero in the starry sky. 

Atlas perceiv'd the load of heav'n's new guest, 
Revenge still rancour'd in Eurystheus' breast 
Against Alcides' race. Alcmena goes 
To Ible, to vent maternal woes; 345 

Here she pours forth her grief, recounts the 6poils 
Her son had bravely reap'd in glorious toils. 
This Idle, by Hercules commands, 
Hyllus had lov'd, and join'd in nuptial bands. 
Her swelling womb the teeming birth confess'd, 350 
To whom Alcmena thus her speech address'd : 

O, may the gods protect thee in that hour, 
When 'midst thy throes, thou call'st th' Ilithyan 
May no delays prolong thy racking pain, [pow'r ! 

As when I su'd for Juno's aid in vain. 355 

When now Alcides' mighty birth drew nigh, 
And the tenth sign roll'd forward on the sky, 
My womb extends with such a mighty load, 
As Jove, the parent of the burthen, shew'd. 
I could no more th' increasing smart sustain, 360 

My horror kindles to recount the pain ; 
Cold chills my limbs while I the tale pursue, 


And now methinks I feel my pangs anew. 

Sev'n days and nights, amidst incessant throes, 

Fatigu'd with ills I lay, nor knew repose ; 365 

When lifting high my hands, in shrieks I pray'd, 

Implor'd the gods, and call'd Lucina's aid. 

She came, but prejudic'd, to give my fate 

A sacrifice to vengeful Juno's hate. 

Sh« hears the groaning anguish of my fits, 370 

And on the altar at my door she sits. 

O'er her left knee her crossing leg she cast, 

Then knits her fingers close, and wrings them fast: 

This stay'd the birth ; in mutt'ring verse she pray'd, 

The mutt'ring verse th' unfinish'd birth delay'd. 375 

»ow with fierce struggles, raging with my pain, 

At Jove's ingratitude I rave in vain. 

How did I wish for death! such groans I sent, 

As might have made the flinty heart relent. 

Now the Cadmeian matrons round me press, 380 
Offer their vows, and seek to bring redress ; 
Among the Theban dames Galanthis stands, 
Strong limb'd, red-hair'd, and just to my commands : 
She first perceiv'd that all these racking woes 
From the persisting hate of Juno rose. 385 

As here and there she pass'd, by chance she sees 
The seated goddess ; on her close-prest knees 
Her fast-knit hands she leans ; with cheerful voice 
Galanthis cries, Whoe'er thou art, rejoice; 
Congratulate the dame, she lies at rest, 390 

At length the gods Alcmena's womb have blest. 
Swift from her seat the startled goddess springs, 
No more conceal'd, her hands abroad she flings; 
The charm unloos'd, the birth my pangs reliev'd; 
Galanthis' laughter vex'd the pow'r deceiv'd. 395 

Fame says, the goddess dragg'd the laughing maid 
Fast by the hair ; in vain her force essay'd 
Her grov'lling body from the ground to rear; 
Chang'd to forefeet her shrinking arms appear : 
Her hairy back her former hue retains, 400 

The form alone is lost, her strength remains; 
Who, since the lie did from her mouth proceed, 
Shall from her pregnant mouth bring forth her 

BOOK IX. 231 

Nor shall she quit her long-frequented home, 

But haunt those houses where she loved to roam. 405 

She said, and for her lost Galanthis sighs ; 
When the fair consort of her son replies : 
Since you a servant's ravish'd form bemoan, 
And kindly sigh for sorrows not your own, 
Let me (if tears and grief permit) relate 410 

A nearer woe, a sister's stranger fate. 

No nymph of all GSchalia could compare 
For beauteous form with Dryope the fair; 
Her tender mother's only hope and pride 
(Myself the offspring of a second bride), 415 

This nymph, compress'd by him who rules the day, 
Whom Delphi, and the Delian isle obey, 
Andrsemon lov'd; and, blest in all those charms 
That pleas'd a god, succeeded to her arms. 

A lake there was, with shelving banks around, 420 
Whose verdant summit fragrant myrtles crown'd. 
Those shades, unknowing of the fates, she sought, 
And to the Naiads fiow'ry garlands brought; 
Her smiling babe (a pleasing charge) she press'd 
Between her arms, and nourish'd at her breast. 425 
Not distant far a wat'ry lotos grows; 
The spring was new, and all the verdant boughs, 
Adorn'd with blossoms, promis'd fruits that vie 
In glowing colours with the Tyrian die. 
Of these she cropt, to please her infant son, 430 

And 1 myself the same rash act had done, 
But, lo ! I saw (as near her side I stood) 
The violated blossoms drop with blood; 
Upon the tree I cast a frightful look, 
The trembling tree with sudden horror shook. 435 
Lotis, the nymph (if rural tales be true), 
As from Priapus' lawless lust she flew, 
Forsook her form ; and, fixing here, became 
A fiow'ry plant, which still preserves her name. 

This change unknown, astonish'd at the sight, 440 
My trembling sister strove to urge her flight ; 
Yet first the pardon of the nymphs implor'd, 
And those offended silvan pow'rs ador'd : 
But when she backward would have fled, she found 


Her stiffening feet were rooted to the ground : 445 

In vain to free her fasten'd feet she strove, 

And as she struggles, only moves above ; 

She feels th' encroaching bark around her grow, 

By slow degrees, and cover all below : 

Surpris'd at this, her trembling hand she heaves 450 

To rend her hair ; her hand is fill'd with leaves ; 

Where late was hair, the shooting leaves are seen 

To Tise, and shade her with a sudden green. 

The child Amphisus, to her bosom prest, 

Perceiv'd a colder and a harder breast, 455 

And found the springs, that ne'er till then deny'd 

Their milky moisture, on a sudden dried. 

I saw, unhappy, what I now relate, 

And stood the helpless witness of thy fate ; 

Embrac'd thy boughs, the rising bark delay'd, 460 

There wish'd to grow, and mingle shade with shade. 

Behold Andrasmon, and th' unhappy sire 
Appear, and for their Dryope inquire ; 
A springing tree for Dryope they find, 
And print warm kisses on the panting rind; 465 

Prostrate, with tears their kindred plant bedew, 
And close embrac'd, as to the roots they grew. 
The face was all that now remain'd of thee; 
Mo more a woman, not yet quite a tree: 
Thy branches hung with humid pearls appear, 470 
From ev'ry leaf distils a trickling tear ; 
And straight a voice, while yet a voice remains, 
Thus thro' the trembling boughs in sighs complains : 

If to the wretched any faith be giv'n, 
I swear by all th' unpitying pow'rs of heav'n, 475 
No wilful crime this heavy vengeance bred, 
In mutual innocence our lives we led. 
If this be false, let these new greens decay, 
Let sounding axes lop my limbs away, 
And crackling flames on all my honours prey. 480 
Now from my branching arms this infant bear, 
Let some kind nurse supply a mother's care; 
Yet to his mother let him oft be led, 
Sport in her shades, and in her shades be fed; 
Teach him, when first his infant voice shall frame 485 
Imperfect words, and lisp his mother's name, 

BOOK IX. 233 

To hail this tree, and" say, with weeping eyes, 

Within this plant my hapless parent lies ; 

And when in youth he seeks the shady woods, 

Oh, let him fly the crystal lakes and floods, 490 

Nor touch the fatal flow'rs ; but, warn'd by me, 

Believe a goddess shrin'd in ev'ry tree. 

My sire, my sister, and my spouse farewell! 

If in your breasts or love, or pity dwell, 

Protect your plant, nor let my branches feel 495 

The browsing cattle, or the piercing steel. 

Farewell ! and, since I cannot bend to join 

My lips to yours, advance at least to mine. 

My son, thy mother's parting kiss receive, 

While yet thy mother has a kiss to give. 500 

I can no more ; the creeping rind invades 

My closing lips, and hides my head in shades : 

Remove your hands ; the bark shall soon suffice, 

Without their aid, to seal these dying eyes. 

She ceas'd at once to speak, and ceas'd to be: 505 

And all the nymph was lost within the tree : 

Yet latent life through her new branches reign'd, 

And long the plant a human heat retain'd. 

While Idle the fatal change declares, 
Alcmena's pitying hand oft wip'd her tears. 510 

Grief, too, stream'd down her cheeks; soon sorrow flies, 
And rising joy the trickling moisture dries, 
Lo, Iolaiis stands before their eyes. 
A youth he stood; and the soft down began 
O'er his smooth chin to spread, and promise man. 
Hebe submitted to her husband's pray'rs, 516 

Instill'd new vigour, and restor'd his years. 

Now from her lips a solemn oath had past, 
That Iolaiis this gift alone should taste, 
Had not just Themis thus maturely said 520 

(Which check'd her vow, and aw'd the blooming 
Thebes is embroil'd in war. Capaneus stands [maid) : 
Invincible, but by the Thund'rer's hands. 
Ambition shall the guilty* brothers fire, 
Both rush to mutual wounds, and both expire ; 525 
* Eteocles and Polinices. 


The reeling earth shall ope her gloomy womb, 
Where the yet breathing* bard shall find his tomb. 
The sonf shall bathe his hands in parent's blood, 
And in one act be both unjust and good. 
Of home, and sense depriv'd, where'er he flies, 530 
The furies, and his mother's ghost he spies. 
His wife the fatal bracelet shall implore, 
And Phegeus stain his sword in kindred gore. 
Callirhoe shall then, with suppliant pray'r, 
Prevail on Jupiter's relenting ear. 535 

Jove shall with youth her infant sons inspire, 
And bid their bosoms glow with manly fire. 

When Themis thus, with prescient voice, had spoke, 
Among the gods a various murmur broke ; 
Dissention rose in each immortal breast, 540 

That one should grant, what was denied the rest. 
Aurora from her aged spouse complains, 
And Ceres grieves for Jason's freezing veins ; 
Vulcan would Erichthonius' years renew, 
Her future race the care of Venus drew, 545 

She would Anchises' blooming age restore ; 
A different care employ'd each heav'nly pow'r : 
Thus various int'rests did their jars increase, 
Till Jove arose ; he spoke, their tumults cease. 

Is any rev'rence to our presence giv'n, 550 

Then why this discord 'mong the pow'rs of heav'n? 
Who can the settled will of fate subdue? 
'Twas by the fates that Iolaus knew 
A second youth. The fates' determin'd doom 
Shall give Callirhbe's race a youthful bloom. 555 

Arms, nor ambition can this pow'r obtain; 
Quell your desires ; e'en me the fates restrain. 
Could I their will control, no rolling years 
Had .#iacus bent down with silver hairs ; 
Then Rhadamanthus still had youth possest, 560 

And Minos with eternal bloom been blest. 

Jove's words the synod mov'd ; the pow'rs give o'er, 
And urge in vain unjust complaint no more. 
Since Rhadamanthus' veins now slowly flow'd, 
And /Eacus, and Minos bore the load ; 565 

* Amplriaraus t AlcmEeon. 

BOOK IX. 235 

Minos, who in the flow'r of youth, and fame, 

Made mighty nations tremble at his name, 

Infirm with age, the proud Miletus fears 

Vain of his birth, and in the strength of years ; 

And now regarding all his realms as lost, 570 

He durst not force him from his native coast. 

But you by choice, Miletus, fled his reign, 

And thy swift vessel plow'd th' iEgean main ; 

On Asiatic shores a town you frame, 

Which still is honour'd with the founder's name. 575 

Here you, Cyane, knew the beauteous maid, 

As on her * father's winding banks she stray'd : 

Caunus and Byblis hence their lineage trace, 

The double offspring of your warm embrace. 

Let the sad fate of wretched Byblis prove 580 

A dismal warning to unlawful love : 
One birth gave being to the hapless pair, 
But more was Caunus than a sister's care; 
Unknown she lov'd, for yet the gentle fire 
Rose not in flames, nor kindled to desire ; 585 

'Twas thought no sin to wonder at his charms, 
Hang on his neck, and languish in his arms: 
Thus, wing'd with joy, fled the soft hours away, 
And all the fatal guilt on harmless nature lay. 

But love (too soon from piety declin'd) 590 

Insensibly deprav'd her yielding mind. 
Dress'd she appears, with nicest art adorn'd, 
And ev'ry youth, but her lov'd brother, scorn'd ; 
For him alone she labour'd to be fair, 
And curs'd all charms that might with her's compare. 
'Twas she, and only she, must Caunus please, 596 
Sick at her heart, yet knew not her disease: 
She call'd him lord, — for brother was a name 
Too cold, and dull for her aspiring flame ; 
And when he spoke, if sister he replied, 600 

For Byblis change that frozen word (she cry'd). 
Yet waking, still he watch'd her struggling breast, 
And love's approaches were in vain addrest, 
Till gentle sleep an easy conquest made, 
And in her soft embrace the conqu'ror was laid. 605 
* Meeander. 


But, oh! too soon the pleasing vision fled, 

And left her blushing on the conscious bed; 

Ah me ! (she cry'd,) how monstrous do I seem ! 

Why these wild thoughts, and this incestuous dream ? 

Envy herself ('tis true) must own his charms, (510 

But what is beauty in a sister's arms? 

Oh ! were I not that despicable she, 

How bless'd, how pleas'd, how happy should I be ! 

But unregarded now must bear my pain, 

And, but in dreams, my wishes can obtain. 615 

O sea-born goddess ! with thy wanton boy ! 
Was ever such a charming scene of joy? 
Such perfect bliss! such ravishing delight! 
Ne'er hid before in the kind shades of night. 
How pleas'd my heart ! in what sweet raptures tost ! 
E'en life itself in the soft combat lost, 621 

While breathless he on my heav'd bosom lay, 
And snatch'd the treasures of my soul away. 

If the bare fancy so affects my mind, 
How should I rave if to the substance join'd? 625 
O gentle Caunus ! quit thy hated line, 
Or let thy parents be no longer mine ! 
Oh, that in common all things were enjoy'd, 
But those alone who have our hopes destroy'd. 
Were I a princess, thou an humble swain, 630 

The proudest kings should rival thee in vain. 
It cannot be, alas! the dreadful ill 
Is fix'd by fate, and he's my brother still. 
Hear me, ye gods! I must have friends in heav'n, 
For Jove himself was to a sister giv'n : 635 

But what are their prerogatives above, 
To the short liberties of human love ? 
Fantastic thoughts ! down, down, forbidden fires, 
Or instant death extinguish my desires ! 
Strict virtue, then, with thy malicious leave, 640 

Without a crime I may a kiss receive : 
But say, should I, in spite of laws, comply, 
Yet cruel Caunus might himself deny, 
No pity take of an afflicted maid 644 

(For love's sweet game must be by couples play'd) ? 
Yet why should youth, and charms like mine despair? 
Such fears ne'er startled th' ^Eblian pair ; 

BOOK IX. 237 

No ties of blood could their full hopes destroy, 

They broke through all for the prevailing joy ; 

And who can tell but Caunus too may be 650 

Rack'd and tormented in his breast for me? 

Like me to the extremest anguish drove, 

Like me just waking from a dream of love? 

But stay ! oh, whither would my fury run ! 

What arguments I urge to be undone ! 655 

Away, fond Byblis, quench these guilty flames; 

Caunus thy love but as a brother claims ; 

Yet had he first been touch'd with lore of me, 

The charming youth could I despairing see? 

Oppress'd with grief, and dying by disdain? 660 

Ah no ! too sure I should have eas'd his pain ! 

Since then, if Caunus ask'd me, it were done ; 

Asking myself, what dangers can I run ? 

But canst thou ask? and see that right betray'd, 

From Pyrrha down to thy Avhole sex. convey'd? 665 

That self-denying gift we all enjoy, 

Of wishing to be won, yet seeming to be coy. 

Well then, for once, let a fond mistress woo, 

The force of love no custom can subdue ; 

This frantic passion he by words shall know, 670 

Soft as the melting heart from whence they flow. 

The pencil then in her fair hand she held, 

By fear discourag'd , but by love compell'd; 

She writes, then blots, writes on, and blots again, 

Likes it as fit, then razes it as vain : 675 

Shame, and assurance, in her face appear, 

And a faint hope just yielding to despair; 

Sister was wrote, and blotted as a word 

Which she, and Caunus too (she hop'd), abhorr'd; 

But now resolv'd to be no more controll'd 680 

By scrup'lous virtue, thus her grief she told : 

Thy lover (gentle Caunus) wishes thee 
That health, which thou alone canst give to me. 
O charming youth, the gift I ask, bestow, 
Ere thou the name of the fond writer know; 685 

To thee without a name I would be known, 
Since knowing that, my frailty I must own. 
Yet why should I my wretched name conceal, 
When thousand instances my flames reveal? 689 

Wan looks, and weeping eyes have spoke my pain ; 


And sighs discharg'd from my heav'd heart in vain ; 

Had I not wish'd my passion might be seen, 

What could such fondness and embraces mean ? 

Such kisses too ! (O heedless, lovely boy,) 

Without a crime no sister could enjoy : 695 

Yet (though extremest rage has rack'd my soul, 

And raging fires in my parch'd bosom roll) 

Be witness, gods ! how piously I strove, 

To rid my thoughts of this enchanting love. 

But who could 'scape so fierce, and sure a dart, 700 

Aim'd at a tender and defenceless heart? 

Alas ! what maid could suffer, I have borne, 

Ere the dire secret from my breast was torn; 

To thee a helpless, vanquish'd wretch I come, 

'Tis you alone can save, or give my doom ; 705 

My life, or death, this moment you may choose, 

Yet think, oh think, no hated stranger sues, 

No foe; but one, alas! too near allied, 

And wishing still much nearer to be tied. 

The forms of decency let age debate, 710 

And virtue's rules by their cold morals state; 

Their ebbing joys give leisure to inquire, 

And blame those noble flights our youth inspire : 

Where nature kindly summons let us go, 

Our sprightly years no bounds in love should 

know, 715 

Should feel no check of guilt, and fear no ill; 
Lovers, and gods, act all things at their will : 
We gain one blessing from our hated kin, 
Since our paternal freedom hides the sin ; 
Uncensur'd in each other's arms we lie, 720 

Think then how easy to complete our joy. 
Oh, pardon, and oblige a blushing maid, 
Whose rage the pride of her vain sex betray'd; 
Nor let my tomb thus mournfully complain, 
« Here Byblis lies, by her lov'd Caunus slain.' 7'25 

Forc'd here to end, she, with a falling tear, 
Temper'd the pliant wax, which did the signet bear; 
The curious cipher was impress'd by art, 
But love had stamp'd one deeper in her heart. 
Her page, a youth of confidence and skill 730 

(Secret as night), stood waiting on her will; 
Sighing (she cry'd), Bear this, thou faithful boy, 

BOOK IX. 239 

To my sweet partner in eternal joy : 

Here a long pause her secret guilt confess'd, 

And when at length she would have spoke the rest, 

Half the dear name lay buried in her breast. 736 

Thus as he listen'd to her vain command, 
Down fell the letter from her trembling hand. 
The omen shock'd her soul: yet, Go, she cry'd; 
Can a request from Byblis be denied? 740 

To the Maeandrian youth this message borne, 
The half- read lines by his fierce rage were torn; 
Hence, hence (he cry'd), thou pander to her lust ; 
Bear hence the triumph of thy impious trust .' 
Thy instant death will but divulge her shame, 745 
Or thy life's blood should quench thy guilty flame. 

Frighted, from threat'ning Caunus he withdrew, 
And with the dreadful news to his lost mistress flew. 
The sad repulse so struck the wounded fair, 
Her sense was buried in her wild despair; 750 

Pale was her visage, as the ghastly dead ; 
And her scar'd soul from the sweet mansion fled ; 
Yet with her life renew'd, her love returns, 
And faintly thus her cruel fate she mourns: 

'Tis just, ye gods! was my false reason blind, 755 
To write a secret of this tender kind 1 
With female craft I should at first have strove, 
By dubious hints to sound his distant love; 
And try'd those useful, though diss-embled arts, 
Which women practise on disdainiul hearts 760 

J should have watch'd whence *he black storm might 
Ere I had trusted the unfaithful skies. [rise, 

Now on the rolling billows I am tost, 
And, with extended sails, on the blind shelves am lost . 
Did not indulgent Heav'n my doom foretel, 765 

When from my hand the fatal letter fell I 
What madness seiz'd my soul, and urg'd me on 
To take the only course to be undone ? 
I could myself have told the moving tale 
With such alluring grace as must prevail; <70 

Then had bis eyes beheld my blushing fears, 
My rising sighs, and my descending tears; 
Round his dear neck these arms I then had spread, 


And, if rejected, at his feet been dead : 

If singly these had not his thoughts inclin'd, 775 

Yet all united would have shockM his mind. 

Perhaps my careless page might be in fault, 

And in a luckless hour the fatal message brought; 

Business, and worldly thoughts might fill his breast, 

Sometimes e'en love itself may be an irksome guest : 

He could not else have treated me with scorn, 781 

For Caunus was not of a tigress born : 

Nor steel, nor adamant has fenc'd his heart; 

Like mine, 'tis naked to the burning dart. 

Away, false fears ! he must, he shall be mine, 785 
In death alone I will my claim resign! 
'Tis vain to wish my written crime unknown, 
And for my guilt much vainer to atone. 

Repuls'd and baffled, fiercer still she burns, 
And Caunus with disdain her impious love returns. 
He saw no end of her injurious flame, 791 

And fled his country to avoid the shame. 
Forsaken Byblis, who had hopes no more, 
Burst out in rage, and her loose robes she tore ; 
With her fair hands she smote her tender breast, 795 
And to the wond'ring world her love confess'd; 
O'er hills and dales, o'er rocks and streams she flew, 
But still in vain did her wild lust pursue : 
Wearied at length, on the cold earth she fell, 
And now in tears alone could her sad story tell. 800 
Relenting gods in pity fix'd her there, 
And to a fountain turn'd the weeping fair. 

The fame of this, perhaps, thro' Crete had flown : 
But Crete had newer wonders of her own, 
In Iphis chang'd : For near the Gnossian bounds 805 
(As loud report the miracle resounds) 
At Phoestus dwelt a man of honest blood, 
But meanly born, and not so rich as good ; 
Esteem'd and lov'd by all the neighbourhood, 
Who to his wife, before the time assign'd 810 

For child-birth came, thus bluntly spoke his mind : 
If Heav'n (said Lygdus) will vouchsafe to hear, 
I have but two petitions to prefer ; 
Short pains for thee, for me a son and heir. 

BOOK IX. 241 

Girls cost as many throes in bringing forth; 815 

Besides, when born, the tits are little worth; 

Weak puling things, unable to sustain 

Their share of labour, and their bread to gain. 

If, therefore, thou a creature shalt produce, 

Of so great charges, and so little use 820 

(Bear witness, Heav'n, with what reluctancy), 

Her hapless innocence I doom to die. 

He said, and tears the common grief display, 

Of him who bade, and her who must obey. 

Yet Telethusa still persists, to find 825 

Fit arguments to move a father's mind; 
T' extend his wishes to a larger scope, 
And in one vessel not confine his hope. 
Lygdus continues hard : Her time drew near, 
And she her heavy load could scarcely bear; 830 

When slumb'ring, in the latter shades of night, 
Before th' approaches of returning light, 
She saw, or thought she saw, before her bed, 
A glorious train, and Isis at their head : 
Her moony horns were on her forehead plac'd, 835 
And yellow shelves her shining temples grac'd : 
A mitre for a crown, she wore on high, 
The dog and dapple bull were waiting by; 
Osyris, sought along the banks of Nile; 
The silent god ; the sacred crocodile ; 840 

And last, a long procession moving on, 
With timbrels, that assist the lab'ring moon. 
Her slumbers seem'd dispell'd, and, broad awake. 
She heard a voice, that thus distinctly spake : 
* My votary, thy babe from death defend, 815 

Nor fear to save whate'er the gods will send : 
Delude with art thy husband's dire decree ; 
When danger calls, repose thy trust on me : 
And know, thou hast not serv'd a thankless deity.' 
This promise made, with night the goddess fled; 850 
With joy the woman wakes, and leaves her bed ; 
Devoutly lifts her spotless hands on high, 
And prays the pow'rs their gift to ratify. 

Now grinding pains proceed to bearing throes, 
Till its own weight the burthen did disclose : 855 

'Twas of the beauteous kind, and brought to light 


With secrecy, to shun the father's sight. 

Th' indulgent mother did her care employ, 

And pass'd it on her husband for a boy. 

The nurse was conscious of the fact alone ; 860 

The father paid his vows as for a son ; 

And call'd him Iphis, by a common name, 

Which either sex with equal right may claim. 

Iphis his grandsire was; the wife was pleas'd, 

Of half the fraud by fortune's favour eas'd, 805 

The doubtful name was us'd without deceit, 

And truth was cover'd with a pious cheat. 

The habit shew'd a boy, the beauteous face 

With manly fierceness mingled female grace. 

Now thirteen years of age were swiftly run, 870 

When the fond father thought the time drew on 

Of settling in the world his only son. 

Ianthe was his choice ; so wondrous fair, 

Her form alone with Iphis could compare; 

A neighbour's daughter of his own degree, 875 

And not more bless'd with fortune's goods than he. 

They soon espous'd; for they with ease were join'd, 
Who were before contracted in the mind. 
Their age the same, their inclinations too ; 
And bred together, in one school they grew. 880 

Thus fatally dispos'd to mutual fires, 
They felt, before they knew, the same desires. 
Equal their flame, unequal was their care ; 
One lov'd with hope, one languish'd in despair. 
The maid accus'd the ling'ring day alone : 885 

For whom she thought a man, she thought her own. 
But Iphis bends beneath a greater grief; 
As fiercely burns ; but hopes for no relief. 
E'en her despair adds fuel to her fire: 
A maid with madness does a maid desire. 890 

And, scarce refraining tears, Alas! (said she,) 
What issue of my love remains for me! 
How wild a passion works within my breast, 
With what prodigious flames am I possest! 
Could I the care of providence deserve, 895 

Heav'n must destroy me, if it would preserve. 
And that's my fate, or sure it would have sent 
Some usual evil for my punishment: 

BOOK IX. 245 

Not this unkindly curse ; to rage and burn, 

Where nature shews no prospect of return. 900 

Nor cows for cows consume with fruitless fire ; 

Nor mares, when hot, their fellow-mares desire : 

The father of the fold supplies his ewes ; 

The stag through secret woods his hind pursues ; 

And birds for mates the males of their own species 

choose. 905 

Her females nature guards from female flame, 
And joins two sexes to preserve the game : 
Would I were nothing, or not what I am ! 
Crete farn'd for monsters, wanted of her store, 
Till my new love produc'd one monster more. 910 
The daughter of the sun a bull desir'd, 
And yet e'en then a male a female fired: 
Her passion was extravagantly new, 
But mine is much the madder of the two. 
To things impossible she was not bent, 915 

But found the means to compass her intent. 
To cheat his eyes she took a different shape ; 
Yet still she gain'd a lover, and a leap. 
Should all the wit of all the world conspire, 
Should Daedalus assist my wild desire, 920 

What art can make me able to enjoy, 
Or what can change I'anthe to a boy? 
Extinguish then thy passion, hopeless maid, 
And recollect tby reason for thy aid. 
Know what thou art, and love as maidens ought, 925 
And drive these golden wishes from thy thought. 
Thou canst not hope thy fond desires to gain ; 
Where hope is wanting, wishes are in vain. 

And yet no guards against our joys conspire ; 
No jealous husband hinders our desire : 930 

My parents are propitious to my wish, 
And she herself consenting to the bliss. 
All things concur to prosper our design : 
AH things to prosper any love but mine. 
And yet I never can enjoy the fair; 935 

'Tis past the pow'r of Heav'n to grant my pray'r. 
Heav'n has been kind, as far as Heav'n can be ; 
Our parents with our own desires agree ; 
But nature, stronger than the gods above, 


Refuses her assistance to my love ; 940 

She sets the bar that causes all my pain; 

One gift refus'd makes all their bounty vain. 

And now the happy day is just at hand, 

To bind our hearts in Hymen's holy band; 

Our hearts, but not our bodies : thus accurst, 945 

In midst of water I complain of thirst. 

Why com'st thou, Juno, to these barren rites, 

To bless a bed defrauded of delights 1 

But why should Hymen lift his torch on high, 

To see two brides in cold embraces lie 1 950 

Thus love-sick Iphis her vain passion mourns ; 
With equal ardour fair I'anthe burns, 
Invoking Hymen's name, and Juno's pow'r, 
To speed the work, and haste the happy hour. 

She hopes, while Telethusa fears the day, 955 

And strives to interpose some new delay ; 
Now feigns a sickness, now is in a fright 
For this bad omen, or that boding sight. 
But having done whate'er she could devise, 
And emptied all her magazine of lies, 960 

The time approach' d: the next ensuing day 
The fatal secret must to light betray. 
Then Telethusa had recourse to pray'r, 
She, and her daughter with dishevell'd hair; 
Trembling with fear, great Isis they ador'd, 965 

Embrac'd her altar, and her aid implor'd : 

Fair queen, who dost on fruitful Egypt smile, 
Who sway'st the sceptre of the Pharian isle, 
And sev'n-fold falls of disemboguing Nile, 
Relieve, in this our last distress (she said), 970 

A suppliant mother, and a mournful maid. 
Thou, goddess, thou wert present to my sight ; 
Reveal'd I saw thee by thy own fair light: 
I saw thee in my dream, as now I see, 
With all thy marks of awful majesty : 975 

The glorious train that compass thee around; 
And heard the hollow timbrels' holy sound. 
Thy words I noted, which I still retain; 
Let not thy sacred oracles be vain. 
That Iphis lives, that I myself am free 980 

From shame and punishment, I owe to thee. 

BOOK IX. 245 

On thy protection all our hopes depend : 
Thy counsel sav'd us, let thy pow'r defend. 

Her tears pursu'd her words; and while she spoke, 
The goddess nodded, and her altar shook : 985 

The temple doors, as with a blast of wind, 
Were heard to clap; the lunar horns that bind 
The brows of Isis, cast a blaze around ; 
The trembling timbrel made a murm'ring sound. 

Some hopes these happy omens did impart; 990 
Forth went the mother with a beating heart : 
Not much in fear, nor fully satisfied ; 
But Iphis follow'd, with a larger stride ; 
The whiteness of her skin forsook her face ; 
Her looks embolden'd with an awful grace ; 995 

Her features, and her strength together grew, 
And her long hair to curling locks withdrew. 
Her sparkling eyes with manly vigour shone, 
Big was her voice, audacious was her tone. 
The latent parts, at length reveal'd, began 1000 

To shoot and spread, and burnish into man. 
The maid becomes a youth : — No more delay 
Your vows, but look, and confidently pay. 
Their gifts the parents to the temple bear; 
The votive tables this inscription wear: 1005 

' Iphis the man^has to the goddess paid 
The vows, that Iphis offer'd when a maid/ 

Now when the star of day had shewn his face, 
Venus, and Juno, with their presence grace 
The nuptial rites, and Hymen from above 1010 

Descending to complete their happy love : 
The gods of marriage lend their mutual aid ; 
And the warm youth enjoys the lovely maid. 




The story of Orpheus and Eurydice. The fable of Cyparissus. 
Hyacinthus transformed into a Flower. The transformation of 
the Cerastae and Propeetides. 'Ilie story of Pygmalion and 
the Statue. The story of Cinyras and Myrrha. The story of 
Venus and Adonis. 

Thence, in his saffron robe, for distant Thrace, 
Hymen departs, through air's unmeasur'd space : 
By Orpheus call'd, the nuptial pow'r attends, 
But with ill-omen'd augury descends ; 
Nor cheerful look'd the god, nor prosp'rous spoke, 5 
Nor blaz'd his torch, hut wept in hissing smoke; 
In vain they whirl it round, in vain they shake, 
No rapid motion can its flames awake. 

With dread these inauspicious signs were view'd, 
And soon a more disastrous end ensu'd ; 10 

For as the bride, amid the Naiad train 
Ran joyful, sporting o'er the flow'ry plain, 
A venom'd viper bit her as she pass'd ; 
Instant she fell, and sudden breath'd her last. 

When long his loss the Thracian had deplor'd, 15 
Not by superior pow'rs to be restor'd ; 
Inflam'd by love, and urg'd by deep despair, 
He leaves the realms of light, and upper air ; 
Daring to tread the dark Tenarian road, 
And tempt the shades in their obscure abode : 20 

Through gliding spectres of th' interr'd to go, 
And phantom people of the world below : 
Persephone he seeks, and him who reigns 
O'er ghosts, and hell's uncomfortable plains. 
Arriv'd, he, tuning to his voice his strings, 25 

Thus to the king and queen of shadows sings : 

• Ye pow'rs, who under earth your realms extend, 
To whom all mortals must one day descend: 
If here 'tis granted sacred truth to tell, 
I come not curious to explore your hell ; 30 

Nor come to boast (by vain ambition fir'd) 
How Cerberus at my approach retir'd: 
My wife alone I seek ; for her lov'd sake, 

BOOK X. 217 

These terrors I support, this journey take. 

She, luckless wand'ring, or by fate misled, 35 

Chanc'd on a lurking viper's crest to tread ; 

The vengeful beast, infiam'd with, fury, starts, 

And through her heel his deathful venom darts. 

Thus was she snatch'd untimely to her tomb ; 

Her growing years cut short, and springing bloom. 

Long I my loss endeavour'd to sustain, 41 

And strongly strove, but strove, alas ! in vain : 

At length I yielded, won by mighty love ; 

Well known is that omnipotence above! 

But here, I doubt, his unfelt influence fails; 45 

And yet a hope within my heart prevails, 

That here, e'en here, he has been known of old; 

At least, if truth be by tradition told ; 

If fame of former rapes belief may find, 

You both by love, and love alone, were join'd. 50 

Now, by the horrors which these realms surround, 

By the vast chaos of these depths profound ; 

By the sad silence which eternal reigns 

O'er all the waste of these wide-stretching plains ; 

Let me again Eurydice receive, 55 

Let fate her quick-spun thread of life re-weave. 

All our possessions are but loans from you, 

And soon, or late, you must be paid your due ; 

Hither we haste to human-kind's last seat, 

Your endless empire, and our sure retreat. 60 

She too, when ripen'd years she shall attain, 

Must, of avoidless right, be yours again ; 

I but the transient use of that require, 

Which soon, too soon, I must resign entire. 

But if the destinies refuse my vow, 65 

And no remission of her doom allow ; 

Know, I'm determin'd to return no more ; 

So both retain, or both to life restore.' 

Thus while the bard melodiously complains, 
And to his lyre accords his vocal strains, 70 

The very bloodless shades attention keep, 
And silent, seem compassionate to weep ; 
E'en Tantalus his flood unthirsty views, 
Nor flies the stream, nor he the stream pursues ; 
Ixion's wond'ring wheel its whirl suspends, 75 

And the voracious vulture, charm'd, attends : 


No more the Belides their toil bemoan, 

And Sisyphus reclin'd, sits list'ning on his stone.' 

Then first ('tis said) by sacred verse subdu'd, 
The Furies felt their cheeks with tears bedew'd : 80 
Nor could the rigid king, or queen of hell, 
Th' impulse of pity in their hearts repel. 

Now, from a troop of shades that last arriv'd, 
Eurydice was call'd, and stood reviv'd. 
Slow she advanc'd, and, halting, seem'd to feel 85 
The fatal wound, yet painful, in her heel. 
Thus he obtains the suit so much desir'd, 
On strict observance of the terms requir'd : 
For if, before he reach the realms of air, 
He backward cast his eyes to view the fair, 90 

The forfeit grant, that instant, void is made, 
And she for ever left a lifeless shade. [bend, 

Now through the noiseless throng their way they 
And both with pain the rugged road ascend ; 
Dark was the path, and difficult, and steep, 95 

And thick with vapours from the smoky deep. 
They well-nigh now had pass'd the bounds of night, 
And just approach'd the margin of the light, 
When he, mistrusting, lest her steps might stray, 
And gladsome of the glimpse of dawning day, 100 
His longing eyes, impatient, backward cast 
To catch a lover's look, — but look'd his last ; 
For, instant dying, she again descends, 
While he to empty air his arms extends. 
Again she died, nor yet her lord reprov'd : 105 

What could she say, but that too well he lov'd ? 
One last farewell she spoke, which scarce he heard ; 
So soon she dropp'd, so sudden disappear'd. 

All stunn'd he stood, when thus his wife he view'd, 
By second fate, and double death subdu'd : 110 

Not more amazement by that wretch was shewn, 
Whom Cerberus beholding, turn'd to stone ; 
Nor Olenus could more astonish'd look, 
When on himself Lethsea's fault he took, 
His beauteous wife, who, too secure, had dar'd 115 
Her face to vie with goddesses compar'd: 
Once join'd by love, they stand united still, 
Turn'd to contiguous rocks on Ida's hill. 
Now to re-pass the Styx in vain he tries, 

BOOK X. 24S 

Charon averse, his pressing suit denies. 120 

Scv'n days entire, along th' infernal shores, 

Disconsolate, the hard Eurydice deplores ; 

Defil'd with filth his robe, with tears his cheeks, 

No sustenance but grief, and cares he seeks : 

Of rigid fate incessant he complains, 125 

And hell's inexorable gods arraigns. 

This ended, to high Rhodope he hastes, 

And Haemus' mountain, bleak with northern blasts. 

And now his yearly race the circling sun 
Had thrice complete through wat'ry Pisces run, 130 
Since Orpheus fled the face of womankind, 
And all soft, union with the sex declin'd. 
Whether his ill success this change had bred, 
Or binding vows made to his former bed ; 
Whate'er the cause, in vain the nymphs contest, 135 
With rival eyes to warm his frozen breast : 
For ev'ry nymph with love his lays inspir'd, 
But ev'ry nymph repuls'd, with grief retir'd. 

A hill there was, and on that hill a mead, 
With verdure thick, but destitute of shade. 140 

Where, now, the Muses' son no sooner sings, 
No sooner strikes his sweet-resounding strings, 
But distant groves the flying sounds receive, 
And list'ning trees their rooted stations leave ; 
Themselves transplanting, all around they grow, 145 
And various shades their various kinds bestow. 
Here, tall Chaonian oaks their branches spread, 
While weeping poplars there erect their head. 
The foodful esculus here shoots his leaves ; 
That turf, soft lime tree, this, fat beech receives; 196 
Here, brittle hazels, laurels here advance, 
And there tough ash to form the hero's lance ; 
Here silver firs with knotless trunks ascend, 
There, scarlet oaks beneath their acorns bend. 
That spot admits the hospitable plain, 15* 

On this, the maple grows with clouded grain : 
Here wat'ry willows are with lotus seen, 
There, tamarisk, and box for ever green : 
With double hue here myrtles grace the ground, 
And laurustines, with purple berries crown'd : ICO 
With pliant feet, now, ivies this way wind, 


Vines yonder rise, and elms with vines entwin'd : 

Wild ornus now, the pitch-tree next takes root, 

And arbutus adorn'd with blushing fruit: 

Then easy-bending palms, the victor's prize, 165 

And pines erect with bristly tops arise. 

To Rhea grateful still the pine remains, 

For Atys still some favour she retains ; 

He once in human shape her breast had warm'd, 

And now is cherish'd to a tree transform'd. 170 

Amid the throng of this promiscuous wood, 

With pointed top, the taper cypress stood ; 

A tree, which once a youth, and heav'nly fair, 

Was of that deity the darling care, 

Whose hand adapts, with equal skill, the strings 175 

To bows with which he kills, and harps to which he 
For, heretofore, a mighty stag was bred, [sings. 

Which on the fertile fields of Caea fed; 
In shape and size he all his kind excelPd, 

And to Carthaean nymphs was sacred held. 180 

His beamy head, with branches high display'd, 

Afforded to itself an ample shade ; 

His horns were gilt, and his smooth neck was grac'd 

With silver collars thick with gems enchas'd : 

A silver boss upon his forehead hung, 185 

And brazen pendants in his ear-rings rung. 

Frequenting houses, he familiar grew, 

And learnt by custom, nature to subdue ; 

Till by degrees, of fear, and wildness, broke, 180 

E'en stranger hands his proffer'd neck might stroke. 

Much was the beast by Caea's youth caress'd, 
But thou, sweet Cyparissus, lov'dst him best : 
By thee, to pastures fresh, he oft was led, 
By thee oft water'd at the fountain's head: 
His horns with garlands, now, by thee were tied, 195 
And, now, thou on his back would'st wanton ride ; 
Now here now there, would'st bound along the plains, 
Ruling his tender mouth with purple reins. 

'Twas when the summer sun at noon of day, 
Through glowing Cancer shot his burning ray ; 200 
'Twas then, the fav'rite stag in cool retreat 
Had sought a shelter from the scorching heat ; 
Along the grass his weary limbs he laid, 

BOOK X. 251 

Inhaling freshness from the breezy shade : 

When Cyparissus with his pointed dart, 205 

Unknowing, pierc'd him to the panting heart. 

But when the youth, surpris'd, his error found, 

And saw him dying of the cruel wound, 

Himself he would haye slain through desp'rate grief : 

What said not Phoebus, that might yield relief ! 210 

To cease his mourning, he the boy desir'd, 

Or mourn no more than such a loss requir'd. 

But he, incessant griev'd : at length address'd 

To the superior pow'rs a last request ; 

Praying, in expiation of his crime, 215 

Thenceforth to mourn to all succeeding time. 

And now of blood exhausted he appears, 
Drain'd by a torrent of continual tears ; 
The fleshy colour in his body fades, 
And a green tincture all his limbs invades ; 220 

From his fair head, where curling locks late hung, 
A horrid bush with bristled branches sprung, 
Which stiff 'ning by degrees, its stem extends, 
Till to the starry skies the spire ascends. 

Apollo sad look'd on, and sighing, cry'd, 225 

Then, be for ever, what thy pray'r imply'd ; 
Bemoan'd by me, in others grief excite ; 
And still preside at ev'ry fun'ral rite. 

Thus the sweet artist in a wondrous shade 
Of verdant trees, which harmony had made, 230 

Encircled sat, with his own triumphs crown'd, 
Of list'ning birds, and savages around. 
Again the trembling strings he dext'rous tries, 
Again from discord makes soft music rise ; 
Then tunes his voice : O muse, from whom I sprung, 
Jove be my theme, and thou inspire my song. 23G 
To Jove my grateful voice I oft have rais'd, 
Oft his almighty pow'r with pleasure prais'd. 
I sang the giants in a solemn strain, 
Blasted, and thunder-struck on Phlegra's plain. 240 
Now be my lyre in softer accents mov'd, 
To sing of blooming boys by gods belov'd ; 
And to relate what virgins, void of shame, 
Have suffer'd vengeance for a lawless flame. 


The king of gods once felt the burning joy, 245 

And sigh'd for lovely Ganymede of Troy: 
Long was he puzzled to assume a shape 
Most fit, and expeditious for the rape ; 
A bird's was proper, yet he scorns to wear 
Any but that which might his thunder bear. 250 

Down with his masquerading wings he flies, 
And bears the little Trojan to the skies ; 
Where now, in robes of heav'nly purple drest, 
He serves the nectar at th' Almighty's feast, 
To slighted Juno an unwelcome guest. 255 

Phoebus for thee too, Hyacinth, design'd 
A place among the gods, had fate been kind : 
Yet this he gave ; as oft as wintry rains 
Are past, and vernal breezes soothe the plains, 
From the green turf a purple flow'r you rise, 260 

And with your fragrant breath perfume the skies. 

You when alive were Phoebus' darling boy; 
In you he plac'd his heav'n, and fix'd his joy : 
Their god the Delphic priests consult in vain ; 
Eurotas now he loves, and Sparta's plain: 265 

His hands, the use of bow and harp forget, 
And hold the dogs, or bear the corded net ; 
O'er hanging cliffs swift he pursues the game ; 
Each hour his pleasure, each augments his flame. 

The mid-day sun now shone with equal light 270 
Between the past, and the succeeding night; 
They strip, then, smooth'd with suppling oil, essay 
To pitch the rounded quoit, their wonted play : 
A well-pois'd disk first hasty Phoebus threw, 
It cleft the air, and whistled as it flew ; 275 

It reach'd the mark, a most surprising length, 
Which spoke an equal share of art and strength. 
Scarce was it fall'n, when with too eager hand 
Young Hyacinth ran to snatch it from the sand ; 
But the curst orb, which met a stony soil, 280 

Flew in his face with violent recoil. 
Both faint, both pale, and breathless now appear, 
The boy with pain, the am'rous god with fear. 
He ran, and rais'd him bleeding from the ground, 
Chafes his cold limbs, and wipes the fatal wound: 285 

BOOK X. 253 

Then herbs of noblest juice in vain applies ; 
The wound is mortal, and his skill defies. 

As in a water'd garden's blooming walk, 
When some rude hand has bruis'd its tender stalk, 
A fading lily droops its languid head, 290 

And bends to earth, its life and beauty fled; 
So Hyacinth, with head reclin'd, decays, 
And, sick'ning, now no more his charms displays. 

Oh, thou art gone, my boy (Apollo cry'd), 
Defrauded of thy youth in all its pride ! 295 

Thou, once my joy, art all my sorrow now ; 
And to my guilty hand my grief I owe : 
Yet from myself I might the fault remove, 
Unless to sport, and play, a fault should prove, 
Unless it too were call'd a fault to love. 300 

Oh, could I for thee, or but with thee die ! 
But cruel fates to me that pow'r deny : 
Yet on my tongue thou shalt for ever dwell ; 
Thy name my lyre shall sound, my verse shall tell ; 
And to a flow'r transform'd, unheard of yet, 305 

StampM on thy leaves my cries thou shalt repeat. 
The time shall come, prophetic I foreknow, 
When join'd to thee, a mighty* chief shall grow, 
And with my plaints his name thy leaf shall shew. 

While Phoebus thus the laws of fate reveal'd, 310 
Behold, the blood which stain'd the verdant field, 
Is blood no longer ; but a flow'r full blown. 
Far brighter than the Tyrian scarlet shone. 
A lily's form it took ; its purple hue 
Was all that made a diff'rence to the view. 315 

Nor stopp'd he here; the god upon its leaves 
The sad expression of his sorrow weaves; 
And to this hour the mournful purple wears 
Ai, Ai, inscrib'd in funeral characters. 
Nor are the Spartans, who so much are fam'd 320 
For virtue, of their Hyacinth asham'd; 
But still with pompous woe, and solemn state, 
The Hyacinthian feasts they yearly celebrate. 

Inquire of Amathus, whose wealthy ground 
With veins of every metal does abound, 325 

* Ajax. 


If she to her Propaetides would shew, 

The honour Sparta does to him allow 1 

No more, she'd say, such wretches would we grace, 

Than those whose crooked horns deform'd their face, 

From thence Cerastse call'd; an impious race: 330 

Before whose gates a rev'rend altar stood, 

To Jove inscrib'd, the hospitable god : 

This had some stranger seen with gore besmear'd, 

The blood of lambs and bulls it had appear'd : 

Their slaughter'd guests it was ; not flock nor herd. 

Venus these barb'rous sacrifices view'd 330 

With just abhorrence, and with wrath pursu'd: 
At first, to punish such nefarious crimes, 
Their towns she meant to leave, her once-lov'd climes. 
But why (said she), for their offence, should I 340 
My dear delightful plains, and cities fly ? 
No, let the impious people, who have sinn'd, 
A punishment in death, or exile find : 
If death, or exile, too severe be thought, 
Let them in some vile shape bemoan their fault. 345 

While next her mind a proper form employs, 
Admonish'd by their horns, she fix'd her choice. 
Their former crest remains upon their heads, 
And their strong limbs an ox's shape invades. 

The blasphemous Propaetides deny'd 350 

Worship of Venus, andherpow'r defy'd: 
But soon that pow'r they felt, the first that sold 
Their lewd embraces to the world for gold. 
Unknowing how to blush, and shameless grown, 
A small transition changes them to stone. 355 

Pygmalion, loathing their lascivious life, 
Abhorr'd all womankind, but most a wife : 
So single chose to live, and shunn'd to wed, 
Well pleas'd to want a consort of his bed. 
Yet fearing idleness, the nurse of ill, 360 

In sculpture exercis'd his happy skill; 
And carv'd in iv'ry such a maid, so fair, 
As nature could not with his art compare, 
Were she to work ; but in her own defence, 
Must take her pattern here, and copy heDce. 365 

Pleas'd with his idol, he commends, admires, 
Adores ; and last, the thing ador'd, desires. 

BOOK X. 255 

A very virgin in her face was seen, 

And had she mov'd, a living maid had been : 309 

One would have thought she could have stirr'd, but 

With modesty, and was asham'd to move. [strove 

Art hid with art, so well perform'd the cheat, 

It caught the carver with his own deceit : 

He knows, 'tis madness, yet he must adore, 

And still the more he knows it, loves the more : 375 

The flesh, or what so seems, he touches oft, 

Which feels so smooth that he believes it soft. 

Fir'd with this thought, at once he strain' d the breast, 

And on the lips a burning kiss impress'd. 

'Tis true, the harden'd breast resists the gripe, 380 

And the cold lips return a kiss unripe ; 

But when, retiring back, he look'd again, 

To think it iv'ry, was a thought too mean : 

So would believe sbe kiss'd, and courting more, 

Again embrac'd her naked body o'er; 385 

And straining hard the statue, was afraid, 

His hands had made a dint, and hurt his maid : 

Explor'd her limb by limb, and feard to find 

So rude a gripe had left a livid mark behind: 

With flatt'ry now he seeks her mind to move, 390 

And now with gifts (the pow'rful bribes of love): 

He furnishes her closet first, and fills 

The crowded shelves with rarities of shells ; 

Adds orient pearls, which from the conchs he drew, 

And all the sparkling stones of various hue : 395 

And parrots, imitating human tongue, 

And singing-birds in silver cages hung; 

And ev'ry fragrant flow'r, and od'rous green 

Were sorted well, with lumps of amber laid between : 

Rich fashionable robes her person deck, 400 

Pendants her ears, and pearls adorn her neck : 

Her taper'd fingers too with rings are grac'd, 

And an embroider'd zone surrounds her slender waist. 

Thus like a queen array'd, so richly dress'd, 404 

Beauteous she shew'd, but naked shewed the best : 

Then, from the floor, he rais'd a royal bed, 

With cov'rings of Sidonian purple spread : 

The solemn rites perform'd, he calls her bride, 

With blandishments invites her to his side: 


And as she were with vital sense possest, 410 

Her head did on a plumy pillow rest. 

The feast of Venus came, a solemn day, 
To which the Cypriots due devotion pay ; 
With gilded horns the milk-white heifers led, 
Slaughter'd before the sacred altars, bled. 415 

Pygmalion offering first, approach'd the shrine, 
And then with pray'rs implor'd the pow'rs divine : 
Almighty gods, if all we mortals want, 
If all we can require be yours to grant ; 
Make this fair statue mine (he would have said,) 420 
But chang'd his words for shame ; and only pray'd, 
Give me the likeness of my iv'ry maid. 

The golden goddess, present at the pray'r, 
Well knew he meant th' inanimated fair, 
And gave the sign of granting his desire ; 425 

For thrice in cheerful flames ascends the fire. 
The youth, returning to his mistress, hies, 
And impudent in hope, with ardent eyes, 
And beating breast, by the dear statue lies. 
He kisses her white lips, renews the bliss, 430 

And looks, and thinks they redden at the kiss : 
He thought them warm before : nor longer stays, 
But next his hand on her hard bosom lays, 
Hard as it was, beginning to relent, 
It seem'd the breast beneath his fingers bent ; 435 

He felt again, his fingers made a print, 
'Twas flesh, but flesh so firm, it rose against the dint: 
The pleasing task he fails not to renew ; 
Soft, and more soft at ev'ry touch it grew; 
Like pliant wax, when chafing hands reduce, 440 
The former mass to form, and frame for use. 
He would believe, but yet is still in pain, 
And tries his argument of sense again, 
Presses the pulse, and feels the leaping vein. 
Convinc'd, o'erjoy'd, his studied thanks and praise, 
To her who made the miracle, he pays : 416 

Then lips to lips he join'd ; now freed from fear, 
He found the savour of the kiss sincere: 
At this, the waken'd image op'd her eyes, 
And view'd at once the light and lover with surprise. 
The goddess present at the match she made, - 451 

BOOK X. 257 

So bless'd the bed, such fruitfulness convey'd, 
That ere ten months had sharpen'd either horn, 
To crown their bliss, a lovely boy was born ; 
Paphos his name, who, grown to manhood, wall'd 
The city, Paphos, from the founder call'd. 450 

Nor him alone produc'd the fruitful queen ; 
But Cinyras, who, like his sire, had been 
A happy prince, had he not been a sire. 
Daughters and fathers, from my song retire ; 460 

I sing of horror ; and, could I prevail, 
You should not hear, or not believe my tale. 
Yet if the pleasure of my song be such, 
That you will hear, and credit me too much, 
Attentive listen to the last event, 465 

And with the sin believe the punishment : 
Since nature could behold so dire a crime, 
I gratulate at least my native clime, 
That such a land, which such a monster bore, 
So far is distant from our Thracian shore. 470 

Let Araby extol her happy coast, 
Her cinamon and sweet amomum boast, 
Her fragrant flow'rs, her trees with precious tears, 
Her second harvests, and her double years ; [bears ? 
How can the land be call'd so bless'd that Myrrha 
Nor all her od'rous tears can cleanse her crime, 476 
Her plant alone deforms the happy clime : 
Cupid denies to have inflam'd thy heart, 
Disowns thy love, and vindicates his dart: 
Some fury gave thee those infernal pains, 480 

And shot her venom'd vipers in thy veins. 
To hate thy sire had merited a curse ; 
But such an impious love deserv'd a worse. 
The neighb'ring monarchs, by thy beauty led, 
Contend in crowds, ambitious of thy bed : 485 

The world is at thy choice ; except but one, 
Except but him, thou canst not choose, alone. 
She knew it too, the miserable maid, 
Ere impious love her better thoughts betray'd, 
And thus within her secret soul she said : 4S0 

Ah, Myrrha ! whither would thy wishes tend? 
Ye gods, ye sacred laws, my soul defend 


From such a crime as all mankind detest, 

And never lodg'd before in human breast ! 

But is it sin ? or makes my mind alone 405 

Th' imagin'd sin? for nature makes it none. 

What tyrant then these envious laws began, 

Made not for any other beast, but man ! 

The father-bull his daughter may bestride, 

The horse may make his mother mare a bride ; 500 

What piety forbids the lusty ram, 

Or more salacious goat, to rut their dam? 

The hen is free to wed the chick she bore, 

And make a husband, whom she hatch'd before ; 

All creatures else are of a happier kind, 505 

Whom nor ill-natur'd laws from pleasure bind, 

Nor thoughts of sin disturb their peace of mind. 

But man, a slave of his own making lives : 

The fool denies himself what nature gives : 

Too busy senates, with an over-care 510 

To make us better than our kind can bear, 

Have dash'd a spice of envy in the laws, 

And, straining up too high, have spoil'd the cause. 

Yet some wise nations break their cruel chains, 

And own no laws, but those which love ordains ; 515 

Where happy daughters with their sires are join'd, 

And piety is doubly paid in kind. 

O, that I had been born in such a clime, 

Not here, where 'tis the country makes the crime ! 

But whither would my impious fancy stray ? 520 

Hence, hopes, and ye forbidden thoughts away ! 

His worth deserves to kindle my desires, 

But with the love that daughters bear to sires. 

Then had not Cinyras my father been, 

What hinder'd Myrrha's hopes to be his queen ! 525 

But the perverseness of my fate is such, 

That he's not mine, because he's mine too much : 

Our kindred blood debars a better tie ; 

He might be nearer, were he not so nigh. 

Eyes and their objects never must unite, 530 

Some distance is requir'd to help the sight : 

Fain would I travel to some foreign shore, 

Never to see my native country more, 

So might I to myself myself restore ; 

BOOK X. 259 

So might my mind these impious thoughts remove, 

And ceasing to behold, might cease to love. 5M> 

But stay I must, to feed my famish'd sight, 

To talk, to kiss, and more if more I might : 

More, impious maid! what more canst thou design, 

To make a monstrous mixture in thy line, 540 

And break all statutes, human and divine 1 

Canst thou be call'd (to save thy -wretched life) 

Thy mother's rival and thy father's wife ? 

Confound so many sacred names in one, 

Thy brother's mother ! sister to thy son ! 545 

And fear'st thou not to see th' infernal bands, 

Their heads with snakes, with torches arm'd their 

Full at thy face th' avenging brands to bear, [hands, 

And shake the serpents from their hissing hair? 

But thou in time th' increasing ill control, 550 

Nor first debauch the body by the soul ; 

Secure the sacred quiet of thy mind, 

And keep the sanctions nature has design'd. 

Suppose I should attempt, th' attempt were vain, 

No thoughts like mine his sinless soul profane ; 555 

Observant of the right ; and O , that he 

Could cure my madness, or be mad like me ! 

Thus she : But Cinyras, who daily sees 
A crowd of noble suitors at his knees, 
Among so many, knew not whom to choose, 560 

Irresolute to grant, or to refuse. 
But having told their names, inquir'd of her 
Who pleas'd her best, and whom she would prefer. 
The blushing maid stood silent with surprise, 
And on her father fix'd her ardent eyes, 565 

And looking, sigh'd, and as she sigh'd, began 
Bound tears to shed, that scalded as they ran. 
The tender sire, who saw her blush and cry, 
Ascrib'd it all to maiden modesty, 
And dry'd the falling drops, and yet more kind, 570 
He strok'd her cheeks, and holy kisses join'd. 
She felt a secret venom fire her blood, 
And found more pleasure than a daughter should ; 
And, ask'd again what lover of the crew 
She lik'd the best, she answer'd, One like you. 575 
Mistaking what she meant, her pious will 


He prais'd, and bade her so continue still : 

The word of pious heard, she blush'd with shame 

Of secret guilt, and could not bear the same. 

Twas now the mid of night, when slumbers close 
Our eyes, and soothe our cares with soft repose ; 581 
But no repose could wretched Myrrha find, 
Her body rolling, as she roll'd her mind : 
Mad with desire, she ruminates her sin, 
And wishes all her wishes o'er again : 585 

Now she despairs, and now resolves to try ; 
Would not, and would again, she knows not why ; 
Stops, and returns, makes and retracts the vow ; 
Fain would begin, but understands not how. 
As when a pine is hew'd upon the plains, 590 

And the last mortal stroke alone remains, 
Lab'ring in pangs of death, and threat'ning all, 
This way and that she nods, consid'ring where to fall : 
So Myrrha's mind, impell'd on either side, 
Takes ev'ry bent, but cannot long abide; 595 

Irresolute on which she should rely, 
At last, unfix'd in all, is only fix'd to die. 
On that sad thought she rests ; resolv'd on death, 
She rises, and prepares to choke her breath : 
Then while about the beam her zone she ties, 600 
Dear Cinyras, farewell (she softly cries) ; 
For thee I die, and only wish to be 
Not hated, when thou know'st I die for thee : 
Pardon the crime, in pity to the cause : 
This said, about her neck the noose the draws. 605 
The nurse, who lay without, her faithful guard, 
Though not the words, the murmurs over-heard, 
And sighs and hollow sounds : Surpris'd with fright 
She starts, and leaves her bed, and springs a light ; 
Unlocks the door, and ent'ring out of breath, 610 

The dying saw, and instruments of death ; 
She shrieks, she cuts the zone with trembling haste, 
And in her arms her fainting charge embrac'd ; 
Next (for she now had leisure for her tears) 
She weeping ask'd, in these her blooming years, 615 
What unforeseen misfortune caus'd her care, 
To loath her life, and languish in despair 1 

BOOK X. 261 

The maid, with downcast eyes, and mute with grief, 

For death unfinish'd, and ill-tirn'd relief, 

Stood sullen to her suit : The beldame press'd 620 

The more to know, and bar'd her wither'd breast, 

Adjur'd her by the kindly food she drew 

From those dry founts, her secret ill to shew. 

Sad Myrrha sigh'd, and turn'd her eyes aside : 

The nurse still urg'd, and would not be denied : 625 

Nor only promis'd secrecy, but pray'd 

She might have leave to give her offer'd aid. 

Good-will (she said) my want of strength supplies, 

And diligence shall give what age denies : 

If strong desires thy mind to fury move, 630 

With charms and med'cines I can cure thy love : 

If envious eyes their hurtful rays have cast, 

More pow'rful verse shall free thee from the blast : 

If Heav'n, offended, sends thee this disease, 

Offended Heav'n, with pray'rs, we can appease. 635 

What then remains, that can these cares procure ? 

Thy house is nourishing, thy fortune sure : 

Thy careful mother yet in health survives, 

And, to thy comfort, thy kind father lives. — 

The virgin started at her father's name, 640 

And sigh'd profoundly, conscious of the shame : 

Nor yet the nurse her impious love divin'd, 

But yet surmis'd that love disturb'd her mind : 

Thus thinking, she pursu'd her point, and laid, 

And lulFd within her lap the mourning maid ; 645 

Then softly sooth'd her thus: I guess your grief; 

You love, my child ; your love shall find relief. 

My long-experienc'd age shall be your guide ; 

Rely on that, and lay distrust aside : 

No breath of air shall on the secret blow, 650 

Nor shall (what most you fear) your father know. 

Struck once again, as with a thunder-clap, 

The guilty virgin bounded from her lap. 

And threw her body prostrate on the bed, 

And, to conceal her blushes, hid her head ; 655 

There silent lay, and warn'd her with her hand 

To go ; but she receiv'd not the command ; 

Remaining still, importunate to know : 

Then Myrrha thus : Or ask no more, or go; 


I prithee go, — or, staying, spare my shame : 660 

What thou would'st hear, is impious e'en to name. 
At this, on high the beldame holds her hands, 
And trembling both with age and terror stands ; 
Adjures, and, falling at her feet, intreats, 
Soothes her with blandishments, and frights with 

threats, 665 

To tell the crime intended, or disclose 
What part of it she knew, if she no farther knows ; 
And last, if conscious to her counsel made, 
Confirms anew the promise of her aid. 
Now Myrrha rais'd her head ; but, soon opprest 670 
With shame, reclin'd it on her nurse's breast ; 
Bath'd it with tears, and stroTe to have confess'd : 
Twice she began, and stopp'd, again she try'd ; 
The falt'ring tongue its office still deny'd. 
At last her veil before her face she spread, CT5 

And drew a long preluding sigh, and said, 
' O happy mother, in thy marriage bed !' 
Then groan'd and ceas'd. The good old woman shook ; 
Stiff were her eyes, and ghastly was her look : 
Her hoary hair upright with horror stood, 680 

Made (to her grief) more knowing than she would. 
Much she reproach'd, and many things she said, 
To cure the madness of th' unhappy maid ; 
In vain : for Myrrha stood convict of ill; 
Her reason vanquish'd, but unchang'd her will: 685 
Perverse of mind, unable to reply, 
She stood resolv'd, or to possess or die. 
At length the fondness of a nurse prevail'd 
Against her better sense, and virtue fail'd : 
Enjoy, my child, since such is thy desire, 690 

Thy love (she said) ; — she durst not say, thy sire : 
Live, though unhappy, live on any terms; 
Then with a second oath her faith confirms. 

The solemn feast of Ceres now was near, 
When long white linen stoles the matrons wear; 695 
Rank'd in procession walk the pious train, 
Off 'ring first-fruits, and spikes of yellow grain : 
For nine long nights the nuptial bed they shun, 
And, sanctifying harvest, lie alone. 699 

Mix'd with the crowd, the queen forsook her lord, 

BOOK X. 263 

And Ceres' power with secret rites ador'd : 

The royal couch, now vacant for a time, 

The crafty crone, officious in her crime, 

The first occasion took : the king she found 

Easy with wine, and deep in pleasures drown'd, 705 

Prepar'd for love : The beldame blew the flame, 

Confess'd the passion, but conceal'd the name. 

Her form she prais'd; the monarch ask'd her years ; 

And she reply'd, The same thy Myrrha bears. 

Wine, and commended beauty, fir'd his thought; 710 

Impatient, he commands her to be brought. 

Pleas'd with her charge perform'd, she hies her home, 

And gratulates the nymph, the task was overcome. 

Myrrha was joy'd the welcome news to hear; 

But clogg'd with guilt, the joy was unsincere : 715 

So various, so discordant is the mind, 

That in our will a diff'rent will we find. 

Ill she presag'd, and yet pursued her lust ; 

For guilty pleasures give a double gust. 

'Twas depth of night: Arctophylax had driv'n 720 
His lazy wain half round the northern heav'n, 
When Myrrha hasten'd to the crime desir'd : 
The moon beheld her first, and first retir'd ; 
The stars amaz'd ran backward from the sight, 
And, shrunk within their sockets, lost their light. 725 
Icarius first withdraws his holy flame : 
The virgin sign, in heav'n the second name, 
Slides down the belt, and from her station flies, 
And night with sable clouds involves the skies. 
Bold Myrrha still pursues her black intent; 730 

She stumbled thrice (an omen of th' event); 
Thrice shriek'd the fun'ral owl, yet on she went, 
Secure of shame, because secure of sight; 
E'en bashful sins are impudent by night. 
Link'd hand in hand, th' accomplice acd the dame, 
Their way exploring to the chamber came : 736 

The door was ope; they blindly grope their way, 
Where dark in bed th' expecting monarch lay. 
Thus far her courage held, but here forsakes; 
Her faint knees knock at ev'ry step she makes. 740 
The nearer to her crime, the more within 
She feels remorse, and horTor of her sin; 


Repents too late her criminal desire, 

And wishes that, unknown, she could retire. 

Her ling'ring thus, the nurse (who fear'd delay 745 

The fatal secret might at length betray) 

Pull'd forward, to complete the work begun, 

And said to Cinyras, ' Receive thy own/ 

Thus saying, she deliver'd kind to kind, 

Accurs'd, and their devoted bodies join'd. 750 

The sire unknowing of the crime, admits 

His bowels, and profanes the hallow'd sheets; 

He found she trembled, but believ'd she strove 

With maiden modesty against her love, [move. 

And sought with flatt'ring words vain fancies to re- 

Perhaps, he said, my daughter, cease thy fears 756 

(Because the title suited with her years) ; 

And father, she might whisper him again, 

That names might not be wanting to the sin. 

Full of her sire, she left th' incestuous bed, 760 

And carried in her womb the crime she bred. 
Another, and another night she came ; 
For frequent sin had left no sense of shame : 
*Till Cinyras desir'd to see her face, 
Whose body he had held in close embrace, 765 

And brought a taper ; the revealer, light, 
Expos'd both crime and criminal to sight. 
Grief, rage, amazement, could no speech afford, 
But from the sheath he drew th' avenging sword : 
The guilty fled ; the benefit of night, 770 

That favour'd first the sin, secur'd the flight. 
Long wand'ring through the spacious fields she bent 
Her voyage to th' Arabian continent ; 
Then pass'd the region which Panchaea join'd, 
And flying left the palmy plains behind. 775 

Nine times the moon had mew'd her horns ; at length 
With travel weary, unsupplied with strength, 
And with the burthen of her womb oppress'd : 
Sabaean fields afford her needful rest : 
There, loathing life, and yet of death afraid, 780 

In anguish of her spirit, thus she pray'd: 
Ye pow'rs, if any so propitious are 
T' accept my penitence, and hear my pray'i ; 

BOOK X. 2C5 

Your judgments, I confess, are justly sent; 

Great sins deserve as great a punishment : 785 

Yet, since my life the living will profane, 

And since my death the happy dead will stain, 

A middle state your mercy may bestow, 

Betwixt the realms above and those below ; 

Some other form to wretched Myrrha give, 7i>0 

Nor let her wholly die, nor wholly live. 

The prayers of penitents are never vain ; 
At least she did her last request obtain : 
For while she spoke, the ground began to rise, 
And gather'd round her feet, her legs, and thighs ; 795 
Her toes in roots descend, and, spreading wide, 
A firm foundation for her trunk provide : 
Her solid bones convert to solid wood, 
To pith her marrow, and to sap her blood: 
Her arms are boughs, her fingers change their kind, 
Her tender skin is harden'd into rind. 801 

And now the rising tree her womb invests, 
Now shooting upwards still, invades her breasts, 
And shades the neck ; when weary with delay, 
She sunk her head within, and met it half the way, 
And tho' with outward shape she lost her sense, 806 
With bitter tears she wept her last offence ; 
And still she weeps, nor sheds her tears in vain ; 
For still the precious drops her name retain. 

Meantime, the mis-begotten infant grows, 810 

And, ripe for birth, distends with deadly throes 
The swelling rind, with unavailing strife, 
To leave the wooden womb, and pushes into life. 
The mother tree, as if oppress'd with pain, 814 

Writhes here, and there, to break the bark in vain ; 
And like a labouring woman would have pray'd, 
But wants a voice to call Lucina's aid : 
The bending bole sends out a hollow sound) 
And trickling tears fall thicker on the ground. 
The mild Lucina came uncall'd, and stood 820 

Beside the struggling boughs, and heard the groaning 

Then reach'd her midwife-hand to speed the throes, 
And spoke the pow'rful spells, that babes to birth dis 
The bark divides, the living load to free, [close - 



And safe delivers the convulsive tree. 825 

The ready nymphs receive the crying child, 
And wash him in the tears the parent plant distill'd. 
They swath'd him with their scarfs ; heneath him 

The ground with herbs ; with roses rais'd his head. 
The lovely babe was born with ev'ry grace, 830 

E'en envy must have prais'd so fair a face : 
Such was his form as painters, when they shew 
Their utmost art, on naked loves bestow : 
And that their arms no diff'rence might betray, 
Give him a bow, or his from Cupid take away. 835 
Time glided along with undiscover'd haste, 
The future but a length behind the past; 
So swift are years. The babe, whom just before 
His grandsire got, and whom his sister bore; 
The drop, the thing, which late the tree inclos'd, 840 
And late the. yawning bark to life expos'd; 
A babe, a boy, a beauteous youth appears, 
And lovelier than himself at riper years. 
Now to the queen of love he gave desires, 
And, with her pains, reveng'd his mother's fires. 845 

For Cytherea's lips, while Cupid press'd, 
He, with a heedless arrow, raz'd her breast. 
The goddess felt it, and with fury stung, 
The wanton mischief from her bosom flung : 
Yet thought at first the danger slight, but found 850 
The dart too faithful, and too deep the wound. 
Fir'd with a mortal beauty, she disdains 
To haunt th' Idalian mount, or Phrygian plains. 
She seeks not Cnidos, nor her Paphian shrines, 
Nor Amathus, that teems with brazen mines : 855 
E'en heaven itself, with all its sweets unsought, 
Adonis far a sweeter heav'n is thought. 
On him she hangs, and fonds with ev'ry art, 
And never, never knows from him to part. 
She, whose soft limbs had only been display'd 800 
On rosy beds beneath the myrtle shade, 
Whose pleasing care was to improve each grace, 
And add more charms to an unrivall'd face, 
Now buskin' d, like the virgin huntress, goes 
Thro' woods, and pathless wilds, and mountain snows 

BOOK X. 267 

With her own tuneful voice she joys to cheer 86G 

The panting hounds, that chase the flying deer. 

She runs the labyrinth of fearful hares, 

But fearless beasts and dang'rous prey forbears ; 

Hunts not the grinning wolf, or foamy boar, 870 

And trembles at the lion's hungry roar. 

Thee too, Adonis, with a lover's care, 

She warns, if warn'd thou wouldst avoid the snare : — 

To furious animals advance not nigh, 

Fly those that follow, follow those that fly ; 875 

*Tis chance alone must the survivors save, 

Whene'er brave spirits will attempt the brave. 

O lovely youth ! in harmless sports delight ; 

Provoke not beasts which arm'd by nature fight. 

For me, if not thyself, vouchsafe to fear : 880 

Let not thy thirst of glory cost me dear. 

Boars know not how to spare a blooming age; 

No sparkling eyes can soothe the lion's rage. 

Not all thy charms a savage beast can move, 

Which have so deeply touch'd the queen of love. 885 

When bristled boars from heathen thickets spring, 

In grinded tusks a thunderbolt they bring. 

The daring hunters lions rous'd devour, 

Vast is their fury, and as vast their pow'r ; 

Curst be their tawny race ! If thou would'st hear 

What kindled thus my hate; then lend an ear: 

The wondrous tale I will to thee unfold, 

How the fell monsters rose from crimes of old. 

But by long toils I "faint: See! wide display'd, 

A grateful poplar courts us with a shade. 895 

The grassy turf beneath so verdant shews, 

We may secure delightfully repose. 

With her Adonis here be Venus bless'd ; 

And swift at once the grass and him she press'd. 

Then sweetly smiling, with a raptur'd mind, 900 

On his lov'd bosom she her head reclin'd, 

And thus began : but, mindful still of bliss, 

Seal'd the soft accents with a, softer kiss. 

Perhaps thou may'st have heard a virgin's name, 
Who still in swiftness swiftest youths o'ercame. 905 
Wondrous ! that female weakness should outdo 
A manly strength; the wonder yet is true. 


'Twas doubtful, if her triumphs in the field 

Did to her form's triumphant glories yield; 

Whether her face could with more ease decoy 910 

A crowd of lovers, or her feet destroy. 

For once Apollo she implor'd to shew 

If courteous fates a consort would allow : 

A consort brings thy ruin (he reply'd) ; 

O, learn to want the pleasures of a bride! 915 

Nor shalt thou want them to thy wretched cost, 

And Atalanta living shall be lost. 

With such a rueful fate th' affrighted maid 

Sought green recesses in the woodland glade. 

Not sighing suitors her resolves could move, 920 

She bade them shew their speed, to shew their love. 

He only, who could conquer in the race, 

Might hope the conquer'd virgin to embrace ; 

While he, whose tardy feet had lagg'd behind, 

Was doom'd the sad reward of death to find. 925 

Though great the prize, yet rigid the decree : 

But, blind with beauty, who can rigour see? 

E'en on these laws the fair they rashly sought, 

And danger in excess of love forgot. 

There sat Hippomenes, prepar'd to blame 930 

In lovers such extravagance of flame. 
And must (he said) the blessing of a wife 
Be dearly purchas'd by a risk of life ? 
But when he saw the wonders of her face, 
And her limbs naked, springing to the race, 935 

Her limbs, as exquisitely turn'd as mine, 
Or, if a woman thou, might vie with thine, 
With lifted hands, he cry'd, Forgive the tongue 
Which durst, ye youths, your well- tim'd courage wrong. 
I knew not, that the nymph for whom you strove, 940 
Deserv'd th' unbounded transports of your love. 
He saw, admir'd, and thus her spotless frame 
He prais'd, and praising, kindled his own flame. 
A rival now to all the youths who run, 
Envious, he fears, they should not be undone. 945 
But why (reflects he) idly thus is shewn 
The fate of others, yet untried my own ? 
The coward must not on love's aid depend ; 
The god was ever to the bold a friend. 

BOOK X. 269 

Meantime, the virgin flies, or seems to fly, 950 

Swift as a Scythian arrow cleaves the sky: 

Still more and more the youth her charms admires, 

The race itself t' exalt her charms conspires. 

The golden pinions, which her feet adorn, 

In wanton flutt'rings by the winds are borne. 955 

Down from her head, the long fair tresses flow, 

And sport with lovely negligence below. 

The waving ribands, which her buskins tie, 

Her snowy skin with waving purple die ; 

As crimson veils, in palaces display'd, 960 

To the white marble lend a blushing shade. 

Nor long he gaz'd ; yet, while he gaz'd, she gain'd 

The goal, and the victorious wreath obtain'd. 

The vanquished sigh, and as the law decreed, 

Pay the dire forfeit, and prepare to bleed. 965 

Then rose Hippomenes, not yet afraid, 
And fix'd his eyes full on the beauteous maid. 
Where is (he cry'd) the mighty conquest won, 
To distance those, who want the nerves to run 1 
Here prove superior strength, nor shall it be 970 

Thy loss^of glory, if excell'd by me. 
High my descent, near Neptune I aspire, 
For Neptune was grand-parent to my sire. 
From that great god, the fourth myself I trace, 
Nor sink my virtues yet beneath my race. 975 

Thou from Hippomenes, o'ercome, may'st claim 
An envied triumph, and a deathless fame. 
While thus the youth the virgin's pow'r defies, 
Silent she views him still with softer eyes ; 
Thoughts in her breast a doubtful strife begin, 980 
If 'tis not happier now to lose than win. 
What god, a foe to beauty, would destroy 
The promised ripeness of this blooming boy? 
With his life's danger does he seek my bed 1 
Scarce am I half so greatly worth, she said. 985 

Nor has his beauty mov'd my breast to love, 
And yet I own, such beauty well might move : 
'Tis not his charms, 'tis pity would engage 
My soul to spare the greenness of his age. 
What, that heroic courage fires his breast, 990 


And shines through brave disdain of fate confest? 

What, that his patronage by close degrees, 

Springs from th' imperial ruler of the seas ? 

Then add the love which bids him undertake 

The race, and dare to perish for my sake. 995 

Of bloody nuptials, heedless youth, beware ! 

Fly, timely fly, from a too barb'rous fair. 

At pleasure choose; thy love will be repaid, 

By a less foolish, and more beauteous maid. 

But why this tenderness, before unknown? 1000 

Why beats and pants my breast for him alone? 

His eyes have seen his num'rous rivals yield, 

Let him, too, share the rigour of the field, 

Since, by their fates untaught, his own he courts, 

And thus with ruin insolently sports. 1005 

Yet for what crime shall he his death receive ? 

Is it a crime with me to wish to live ? 

Shall this kind passion his destruction prove? 

Is this the fatal recompense of love ? 

So fair a youth, destroy'd, would conquest shame, 

And nymphs eternally detest my fame. 1011 

Still why should nymphs my guiltless fame upbraid? 

Did I the fond adventurer persuade? 

Alas ! I wish thou would'st the course decline, 

Or that my swiftness was excell'd by thine. 1015 

See ! what a virgin's bloom adorns the boy! 

Why wilt thou run, and why thyself destroy ? 

Hippomenes! O that I ne'er had been 

By those bright eyes unfortunately seen ! 

Ah! tempt not thus, a swift, untimely fate; 1020 

Thy life is worthy of the longest date. 

Were I less wretched, did the galling chain 

Of rigid gods not my free choice restrain, 

By thee alone I could with joy be led 

To taste the raptures of a nuptial bed. 1025 

Thus she disclos'd the woman's secret heart, 
Young, innocent, and new to Cupid's dart. 
Her thoughts, her words, her actions, wildly rove; 
With love she burns, yet knows not that 'tis love. 

Her royal sire now with the murm'ring crowd 
Demands the race impatiently aloud. 1031 

Hippomenes then with true fervour pray'd, 

BOOK X. 271 

My bold attempt let Venus kindly aid. 

By her sweet pow'r, I felt this am'rous fire, 

Still may she succour, whom she did inspire. 1035 

A soft, unenvious wind, with speedy care, 

Wafted to heav'n the lover's tender pray'r. 

Pity, I own, soon gain'd the wish'd consent, 

And all the assistance he implor'd, I lent. 

The Cyprian lands, though rich in richness, yield 

To that, surnam'd the Tamasenian field. 1041 

That field of old was added to my shrine, 

And its choice products consecrated mine. 

A tree there stands, full glorious to behold, 

Gold are the leaves, the crackling branches gold. 

It chanc'd, three apples in my hand I bore, 1046 

Which newly from the tree I sportive tore ; 

Seen by the youth, alone, to him I brought 

The fruit, and when, and how to use it, taught. 

The signal sounding by the king's command, 1050 
Both start at once, and sweep th' unprinted sand. 
So swiftly move their feet, they might with ease, 
Scarce moisten'd, skim along the glassy seas ; 
Or, with a wondrous levity, be borne 
O'er yellow harvests of unbending corn. 1055 

Now fav'ring peals resound from ev'ry part, 
Spirit the youth, and fire his fainting heart. 
Hippomenes ! (they cry'A) thy life preserve, 
Intensely labour, and stretch ev'ry nerve. 
Base fear alone can baffle thy design, 1060 

Shoot boldly onward, and the goal is thine. 
'Tis doubtful, whether shouts like these, convey'd 
More pleasures to the youth or to the maid. 
When a long distance oft she could have gain'd, 
She check'd her swiftness, and her feet restrain'd: 
She sigh'd and dwelt, and languish'd on his face, 
Then, with unwilling speed, pursu'd the race. 1067 
O'er-spent with heat, his breath he faintly drew ; 
Parch'd was his mouth, nor yet the goal in view, 
And the first apple on the plain he threw. 1070 

The nymph stopp d sudden at th' unusual sight, 
Struck with the fruit so beautifully bright. 
Aside she starts, the wonder to behold, 
And eager, stoops to catch the rolling gold. 


Th' observant youth pass'd by, and scour'd along, 1075 

While peals of joy rung from th' applauding throng; 

Unkindly she corrects the short delay, 

And, to redeem the time, fleets swift away, 

Swift as the lightning, or the northern wind, 

And far she leaves the panting youth behind. 1080 

Again he strives the flying nymph to hold 

With the temptation of the second gold: 

The bright temptation fruitlessly was toss'd, 

So soon, alas! she won the distance lost. 

Now but a little interval of space 1085 

Remain'd for the decision of the race. 

Fair author of the precious gift (he said), 

Be thou, O goddess, author of my aid ! 

Then of the shining fruit the last he drew, 

And with his full- collected vigour threw : 1090 

The virgin still the longer to detain, 

Threw not directly, but across the plain. 

She seem'd awhile perplex'd in dubious thought, 

If the far distant apple should be sought : 

I lur'd her backward mind to seize the bait, 1095 

And to the massy gold gave double weight. 

My favour to my votary was shew'd, 

Her speed I lessen'd, and increas'd her load. 

But lest, though long, the rapid race be run, 

Before my longer tedious tale is done, 1100 

The youth the goal, and so the virgin won. 

Might I, Adonis, now not hope to see 
His grateful thanks pour'd out for victory 1 
His pious incense on my altars laid? 
But he nor grateful thanks nor incense paid. 1105 

Enrag'd I vow'd, that with the youth the fair, 
For his contempt should my keen vengeance share ; 
That future lovers m ght my pow'r revere, 
And from their sad examples learn to fear, 
The silent fanes, the sanctified abode3 1110 

Of Cybele, great mother of the gods, 
Rais'd by Echion in a lonely wood, 
And full of brown, religious horror stood. 
By a long painful journey, faint, they chose 
Their weary limbs here secret to repose. 1115 

But soon my pow'r inflam'd the lustful boy, 

BOOK X. 273 

Careless of rest, he sought untimely joy. 

A hallow'd, gloomy cave, with moss o'ergrown, 

The temple join'd of native pumice-stone, 

Where antique images by priests were kept, 1120 

And wooden deities securely slept. 

Thither the rash Hippomenes retires, 

And gives a loose to all his wild desires, 

And the chaste cell pollutes with wanton fires. 

The sacred statues trembled with surprise, 1125 

The tow'ry goddess, blushing, veil'd her eyes; 

And the lewd pair to Stygian sounds had sent, 

But unrevengeful seem'd that punishment. 

A heavier doom such black profaneness draws, 

Their taper fingers turn to crooked paws. 1130 

No more their necks the smoothness can retain, 

Now cover'd sudden with a yellow mane. 

Arms change to legs : each finds the hard'ning breast 

Of rage unknown, and wondrous strength possest. 

Their alter'd looks with fury grim appear, 1135 

And on the ground their brushing tails they bear ; 

They haunt the woods : their voices, which before 

Were musically sweet, now hoarsely roar. 

Hence lions, dreadful to the lab'ring swains, 

Are tam'd by Cybele, and curb'd with reins, 1140 

And humbly draw her car along the plains. 

But thou, Adonis, my delightful care, 

Of these, and beasts, as fierce as these, beware ! 

The savage, which not shuns thee, timely shun, 

For by rash prowess should'st thou be undone, 1145 

A double ruin is contain'd in one, 

Thus cautious Venus school'd her fav'rite boy, 
But youthful heat all cautions will destroy. 
His sprightly soul beyond grave counsels flies, 
While with yok'd swans the goddess cuts the skies. 
His faithful hounds, led by the tainted wind, 1151 
Lodg'd in thick coverts chanc'd a boar to find. 
The callow hero shew'd a manly heart, 
And pierc'd the savage with a side-long dart. 
The flying savage, wounded, turn'd again, 1155 

Wrench'd out the gory dart, and foam'd with pain. 
The trembling boy by flight his safety sought, 
And now recall'd the lore, which Venus taught 
N 2 


But now too late to fly the boar he strove, 

Who in the groin his tusks impetuous drove, 1160 

On the discolour'd grass Adonis lay, 

The monster trampling o'er his beauteous prey. 

Fair Cytherea, Cyprus scarce in view, 
Heard from afar his groans, and own'd them true, 
And turn'd her snowy swans, and backward flew. 
But as she saw him gasp his latest breath, 1166 

And quiv'ring agonize in pangs of death, 
Down with swift flight she plung'd, nor rage forbore, 
At once her garments and her hair she tore. 
With cruel blows she beat her guiltless breast, 1170 
The fates upbraided, and her love confess'd. 
Nor shall they yet (she cry'd) the whole devour 
With uncontroll'd inexorable pow'r : 
For thee, lost youth, my tears and restless pain 
Shall in immortal monuments remain. 1175 

With solemn pomp in annual rites return'd, 
Be thou for ever, my Adonis, mourn'd. 
Could Pluto's queen with jealous fury storm, 
And Menthe to a fragrant herb transform 1 
Yet dares not Venus with a change surprise, 1180 

And in a flow'r bid her fall'n hero rise 1 
Then on the blood sweet nectar she bestows, 
The scented blood in little bubbles rose : 
Little as rainy drops, which flutt'ring fly, 
Borne by the winds, along a low'ring sky. 1185 

Short time ensu'd till where the blood was shed, 
A flower began to rear its purple head : 
Such, as on punic apples is reveal'd, 
Or in the filmy rind but half conceal'd. 
Still here the fate of lovely forms we see, 1190 

So sudden fades the sweet anemonie. 
The feeble stems, to stormy blasts a prey, 
Their sickly beauties droop and pine away. 
The winds forbid the flow'rs to flourish long, 1194 
Which owe to winds their names in Grecian song. 




The death of Orpheus. The Thracian women transformed to 
trees. The fable of Midas. The building of Troy. The story 
of Thetis and Peleus. The transformation of Dsedalion. A 
wolf turned into marble. The story of Ceyx and Alcyone. 
The house of sleep. iEsacus turned into a cormorant. 

Here while the Thracian bard's enchanting strain 

Soothes beasts, and woods, and all the list'ning plain, 

The female Bacchanals devoutly mad, 

In shaggy skins, like savage creatures clad, 

Warbling in air perceiv'd his lovely lay, 5 

And from a rising ground beheld him play : 

When one, the wildest, with dishevell'd hair, 

That loosely stream'd, and ruffled in the air; 

Soon as her frantic eye the lyrist spy'd, 

See, see ! the hater of our sex (she cry'd) ; 10 

Then at his face her missive jav'lin sent, 

Which whizz'd along, and brush'd him as it went; 

But the soft wreaths of ivy twisted round, 

Prevent a deep impression of the wound. 

Another, for a weapon, hurls a stone, 15 

Which, by the sound subdu'd as soon as thrown, 

Falls at his feet, and with a seeming sense 

Implores his pardon for its late offence. 

But now their frantic rage unbounded grows, 

Turns all to madness, and no measure knows : 20 

Yet this the charms of music might subdue, 

But that, with all its charms, is conquer'd too; 

In louder strains their hideous yellings rise, 

And squeaking horn-pipes echo through the skies, 

Which, in hoarse concert with the drum, confound 25 

The moving lyre, and ev'ry gentle sound : 

Then 'twas the deafen'd stones flew on with speed, 

And saw, unsooth'd, their tuneful poet bleed. 

The birds, the beasts, and all the savage crew 

Which the sweet lyrist to attention drew, 30 

Now, by the female mob's more furious rage, 

Are driv'n, and forc'd to quit the shady stage. 

Next their fierce hands the bard himself assail, 

Nor can his song against their wrath prevail : 


They flock, like birds ; when, in a clust'ring flight, 35 

By day they chase the boding fowl of night. 

So, crowded amphitheatres surrey 

The stag to greedy dogs a future prey. 

Their steely jav'lins which soft curls entwine 

Of budding tendrils from the leafy vine, 40 

For sacred rites of mild religion made, 

Are flung promiscuous at the poet's head. 

Those clods of earth, or flints discharge, and these 

Hurl prickly branches sliver' d from the trees. 

And, lest their passion should be unsupplied, 45 

The rabble crew, by chance, at distance spy'd 

Where oxen straining at the heavy yoke, 

The fallow'd field with slow advances broke; 

Nigh which the brawny peasants dug the soil, 

Procuring food with long laborious toil. 50 

These, when they saw the ranting throng draw near, 

Quitted their tools, and fled possess'd with fear. 

Long spades and rakes of mighty size were found, 

Carelessly left upon the broken ground: 

With these the furious lunatics engage, 55 

And first the labouring oxen feel their rage; 

Then to the poet they return'd with speed 

Whose fate was, past prevention, now decreed : 

In vain he lifts his suppliant hands, in vain 

He tries, before, his never-failing strain. 60 

And, from those sacred lips, whose thrilling sound 

Fierce tigers and insensate rocks could wound, 

Ah gods ! how moving was the mournful sight, 

To see the fleeting soul now take its flight. 

Thee the soft warblers of the feather'd kind 65 

Bewail'd; for thee thy savage audience pin'd: 

Those rocks and woods that oft thy strain had led, 

Mourn for their charmer, and lament him dead, 

And drooping trees their leafy glories shed. 

Naiads and Dryads with dishevell'd hair 70 

Promiscuous weep, and scarfs of sable wear ; 

Nor could the river-gods conceal their moan, 

But with new floods of tears augment their own. 

His mangled limbs lay scatter'd all around, 

His head and harp a better fortune found ; 75 

In Hebrus' streams they gently roll'd along, 

BOOK XI. 277 

And sooth'd the waters with a mournful song. 

Soft deadly notes the lifeless tongue inspire, 

A doleful tune sounds from the floating lyre ; 

The hollow hanks in solemn concert mourn, 80 

And the sad strain in echoing groans return, 

Now with the current to the sea they glide, 

Borne by the billows of the briny tide ; 

And driv'n where waves round rocky Lesbos roar, 

They strand and lodge upon Methymna's shore. 85 

But here, when landed on the foreign soil, 
A venom'd snake, the product of the isle, 
Attempts the head, and sacred locks embru'd 
With clotted gore, and still fresh-dropping blood. 
Phoebus, at last, his kind protection gives, 90 

And from the fact the greedy monster drives : 
Whose marbled jaws his impious crime atone, 
Still grinning ghastly, though transform'd to stone. 

His ghost flies downward to the Stygian shore, 
And knows the places it had seen before : 95 

Among the shadows of the pious train 
He finds Eurydice, and loves again; 
With pleasure views the beauteous phantom's charms, 
And clasps her in his unsubstantial arms. 
There side by side they unmolested walk, 100 

Or pass their blissful hours in pleasing talk ; 
Aft or before the bard securely goes, 
And, without danger, can review his spouse. 

Bacchus, resolving to revenge the wrong, 
Of Orpheus murder'd, qji the madding throng, 105 
Decreed that each accomplice-dame should stand 
Fix'd by the roots along the conscious land. 
Their wicked feet that late so nimbly ran 
To wreak their malice on the guiltless man, 
Sudden with twisted ligatures were bound, 110 

Like trees, deep planted in the turfy ground. 
And as the fowler with his subtle gins, 
His feather'd captives by the feet entwines, 
That flutt'ring pant, and struggle to get loose, 
Yet only closer draw the fatal noose : 115 

So these were caught; and, as they strove in vain 
To quit the place, they but increas'd their pain. 


They flounce and toil, yet find themselves controll'd, 

The root, though pliant, toughly keeps its held. 

In vain their toes and feet they look to find, 120 

For e'en their shapely legs are cloth'd with rind. 

One smites her thighs with a lamenting stroke, 

And finds the flesh transform'd to solid oak ; 

Another with surprise and grief distrest, 

Lays on above, but beats a wooden breast. 125 

A rugged bark their softer neck invades, 

Their branching arms shoot up delightful shades; 

At once they seem, and are a real grove, 

With mossy trunks below, and verdant leaves above. 

Nor this suffie'd; the god's disgust remains, 130 
And he resolves to quit their hated plains ; 
The vineyards of Tymole engross his care, 
And, with a better choir, he fixes there ; 
Where the smooth streams of clear Pactolus roll'd, 
Then undistinguish'd for its sands of gold. 135 

The satyrs with the nymphs, his usual throng, 
Come to salute their god, and jovial dance along. 
Silenus only miss'd: for while he reel'd, 
Feeble with age and wine, about the field, 
The hoary drunkard had forgot his way, 140 

And to the Phrygian clowns became a prey ; 
Who to king Midas drag the captive-god, 
While on his totty pate the wreaths of ivy nod. 

Midas from Orpheus had been taught his lore, 
And knew the rites of Bacchus long before : 145 

He, when he saw his venerable guest, 
In honour of the god ordain'd a feast. 
Ten days in course, with each continu'd night, 
Were spent in genial mirth, and brisk delight; 
Then on th' eleventh, when with brighter ray 150 
Phosphor had chas'd the fading stars away, 
The king through Lydia's fields young Bacchus sought, 
And to the god his foster-father brought. 
Pleas'd with the welcome sight, he bids him soon 
But name his wish, and swears to grant the boon. 155 
A glorious offer ! yet but ill bestow'd 
On him whose choice so little judgment shew'd. 

BOOK XI. 279 

Give me, says he (nor thought he ask'd too much), 

That with my body wheresoe'er I touch, 

Chang'd from the nature which it held of old, 160 

May be converted into yellow gold. 

He had his wish : but yet the god repin'd 

To think the fool no better wish could find. 

But the brave king departed from the place, 
With smiles of gladness sparkling in his face; 165 
Nor could contain, but, as he took his way, 
Impatient longs to make the first essay. 
Down from a lowly branch a twig he drew, 
The twig straight glitter'd with a golden hue : 
He takes a stone, the stone was turn'd to gold ; 170 
A clod he touches, and the crumbling mould 
Acknowledg'd soon the great transforming pow'r, 
In weight and substance like a mass of ore. 
He pluck'd the corn, and straight his grasp appears 
Fill'd with a bending tuft of golden ears. 175 

An apple next he takes, and seems to hold 
The bright Hesperian vegetable gold. 
His hand he careless on a pillar lays, 
With shining gold the fluted pillars blaze: 
And while he wishes, as the servants pour, 180 

His touch converts the stream to Danae's show'r. 

To see these miracles so finely wrought, 
Fires with transporting joy his giddy thought: 
The ready slaves prepare a sumptuous board, 
Spread with rich dainties for their happy lord ; 185 
Whose pow'rful hands the bread no sooner hold, 
But its whole substance is transform'd to gold: 
Up to bis mouth he lifts the sav'ry meat, 
Which turns to gold as he attempts to eat : 
His patron's noble juice, of purple hue, 190 

Touch'd by his lips a gilded cordial grew ; 
Unfit for drink, and, wondrous to behold, 
It trickles from his jaws a fluid gold. 

The rich poor fool, confounded with surprise, 
Starving in all his various plenty lies: 195 

Sick of his wish, he now detests the pow'r 
For which he ask'd so earnestly before; 
Amidst his gold with pinching famine curst, 
And justly tortur'd with an equal thirst. 


At last his shining arms to heav'n he rears, 200 

And, in distress, for refuge flies to pray'rs : 

O father Bacchus, I have sinn'd (he cry'd), 

And foolishly thy gracious gift apply'd ; 

Thy pity now, repenting, I implore ; 

Oh, may I feel the golden plague no morel 205 

The hungry wretch, his folly thus confess'd, 
Touch'd the kind deity's good-natur'd breast ; 
The gentle god annull'd his first decree, 
And from the cruel compact set him free. 
But then, to cleanse him quite from farther harm, 210 
And to dilute the relics of the charm, 
He bids him seek the stream that cuts the land 
Nigh where the tow'rs of Lydian Sardis stand; 
Then trace the river to the fountain-head, 
And meet it rising from its rocky bed ; 215 

There, as the bubbling tide pours forth amain, 
To plunge his body in, and wash away the stain. 
The king instructed, to the fount retires; 
But with the golden charm the stream inspires : 
For while this quality the man forsakes, 220 

An equal pow'r the limpid water takes; 
In forms with veins of gold the neighb'ring land, 
And glides along a bed of golden sand. 

Now loathing wealth, th' occasion of his woes, 
Far in the woods he sought a calm repose ; 225 

In caves and grottoes, where the nymphs resort, 
And keep with mountain Pan their silvan court, 
Ah! had he left his stupid soul behind! 
But his condition alter'd not his mind. 

For where high Tmolus rears his shady brow, 230 
And from his cliffs surveys the seas below, 
In his descent, by Sardis bounded here, 
By the small confines of Hypaepa there, 
Pan to the nymphs his frolic ditties play'd, 
Tuning his reeds beneath the checker'd shade. 235 
The nymphs are pleas'd : the boasting sylvan plays, 
And speaks with slight of great Apollo's lays. 
Tmolus was arbiter ; the boaster still 
Accepts the trial with unequal skill. 
The venerable judge was seated high 240 

On bis own hill, that seem'd to touch the sky. 

BOOK XI. 281 

Above the wbisp'ring trees his head he rears, 
From their incumb'ring boughs to free his ears; 
A wreath of oak alone his temples bound, 
The pendent acorns loosely dangled round. 245 

In me your judge (says he), there's no delay: 
Then bids the goatherd god begin and play. 

Pan tun'd the pipe, and with his rural song 
Pleas'd the low taste of all the vulgar throng ; 
Such songs a vulgar judgment mostly please: 250 

Midas was there, and Midas judg'd with these. 

The mountain sire, with grave deportment, now 
To Phoebus turns his venerable brow ; 
And, as he turns, with him the list'ning wood 
In the same posture of attention stood. 255 

The god his own Parnassian laurel crown'd, 
And in a wreath his golden tresses bound, 
Graceful his purple mantle swept the ground. 
High on the left his iv'ry lute he rais'd ; 
The lute, emboss'd with glitt'ring jewels, blaz'd. 260 
In his right hand he nicely held the quill ; 
His easy posture spoke a master's skill. 
The strings he touch'd with more than human art, 
Which pleas'd the judge's ear, and sooth'd his heart ; 
Who soon judiciously the palm decreed, 265 

And to the lute postpon'd the squeaking reed. 

All, with applause, the rightful sentence heard, 
Midas alone dissatisfied appear'd ; 
To him unjustly giv'n the judgment seems, 
For Pan's barbaric notes he most esteems. 270 

The lyric god, who thought his untun'd ear 
Deserv'd but ill a human form to wear, 
Of that deprives him, and supplies the place 
With some more fit, and of an ampler space : 
Fix'd on his noddle an unseemly pair, 275 

Flagging, and large, and full of whitish hair; 
Without a total change of what he was, 
Still in the man preserve the simple ass. 

He, to conceal the scandal of the deed, 
A purple turban folds about his head; 280 

Veils the reproach from public view, and fears 
The laughing world would spy his monstrous ears. 
One trusty barber-slave, that us'd to dress 


His master's hair, when lengthen'd to excess, 

The mighty secret knew, but knew alone, 285 

And, though impatient, durst not make it known. 

Restless, at last a private place he found, 

Then dug a hole, and told it to the ground; 

In a low whisper he reveal'd the case, 289 

And cover'd in the earth, and silent left the place. 

In time, of trembling reeds a plenteous crop 
From the confided furrow sprouted up : 
Which, high advancing with the rip'ning year, 
Made known the tiller, and his fruitless care : 
For then the rustling blades, and whisp'ring wind, 
To tell th' important secret both combin'd. 296 

Phoebus, with full revenge, from Tmolus flies, 
Darts through the air, and cleaves the liquid skies; 
Near Hellespont he lights, and treads the plains 
Where great Labmedon sole monarch reigns ; 300 
Where, built between the two projecting strands, 
To Panomphaean Jove an altar stands. 
Here first aspiring thoughts the king employ, 
To found the lofty tow'rs of future Troy. 
The work, from schemes magnificent begun, 305 

At vast expense was slowly carried on: 
Which Phoebus seeing with the trident god, 
Who rules the swelling surges with his nod, 
Assuming each a mortal shape, combine 
At a sot price to finish his design. 310 

The work was built; the king their price denies, 
And his injustice backs with perjuries. 
This Neptune could not brook, but drove the main, 
A mighty deluge o'er the Phrygian plain : 
'Twas all a sea, the waters of the deep 315 

From ev'ry vale the copious harvest sweep ; 
The briny billows overflow the soil, 
Ravage the fields, and mock the ploughman's toil. 

Nor this appeas'd the god's revengeful mind, 
For still a greater plague remains behind ; 320 

A huge sea-monster lodges on the sands, 
And the king's daughter for his prey demands. 
To him that sav'd the damsel was decreed, 
A set of horses of the sun's fine breed ; 

BOOK XI. 283 

But when Alcides from the rock untied 325 

The trembling fair, the ransom was deny'd, 

He, in revenge, the new-built wall3 attack'd, 

And the twice perjur'd city bravely sack'd. 

Telamon aided, and in justice shar'd 

Part of the plunder as his due reward ; 330 

The princess, rescu'd late, with all her charms, 

Hesione was yielded to his arms ; 

For Peleus, with a goddess-bride was more 

Proud of his spouse, than of his birth before; 

Grandsons to Jove there might be more than one, 335 

But he the goddess had enjoy'd alone. 

For Proteus thus to virgin Thetis said : 
Fair goddess of the waves, consent to wed, 
And take some sprightly lover to your bed. 
A son you'll have, the terror of the field, 340 

To whom in fame, and pow'r his sire shall \ield. 

Jove, who ador'd the nymph with boundless love, 
Did from his breast the dang'rous flame remove. 
He knew the fates, nor car'd to raise up one, 
Whose fame and greatness should eclipse his own. 
On happy Peleus he bestow'd her charms, 346 

And bless'd his grandson in the goddess' arms : 

A silent creek Thessalia's coast can shew; 
Two arms project, and shape it like a bow ; 
'Twould make a bay, but the transparent tide 350 
Does scarce the yellow gravel bottom hide ; 
For the quick eye may through the liquid wave 
A firm unweedy level beach perceive. 
A grove of fragrant myrtle near it grows, 
Whose boughs, though thick, a beauteous grot disclose: 
The well-wrought fabric, to discerning eyes, t56 

Rather by art than nature seems to rise. 
A bridled dolphin oft fair Thetis bore 
To this her lov'd retreat, her f av'rite shore ; 
Here Peleus seiz'd her, slumb'ring where she lay, 
And urg'd his suit with all that love could say : 361 
But when he found her obstinately coy, 
Resolv'd to force her, and command the joy; 
The nymph, o'erpower'd, to art for succour flies, 
And various shapes the eager youth surprise : 365 


A bird she seems, but plies her wings in vain, 

His hands the fleeting substance still detain : 

A branchy tree high in the air she grew ; 

About its bark his nimble arms he threw : 

A tiger next she glares with flaming eyes ; 370 

The frighten'd lover quits his hold, and flies: 

The sea-gods he with sacred rites adores, 

Then a libation on the ocean pours; 

While the fat entrails crackle in the fire, 

And sheets of smoke in sweet perfume aspire ; 375 

Till Proteus rising from his oozy bed, 

Thus to the poor desponding lover said: 

No more in anxious thoughts your mind employ, 

For yet you shall possess the dear expected joy. 

You must once more th' unwary nymph surprise, 380 

As in her coolly grot she slumb'ring lies; 

Then bind her fast with unrelenting hands, 

And strain her tender limbs with knotted bands ; 

Still hold her under ev'ry different shape, 

Till tir'd she tries no longer to escape. 385 

Thus he; then sunk beneath the glassy flood, 

And broken accents flutter'd, where he stood. 

Bright Sol had almost now his journey done, 
And down the steepy western convex run ; 
When the fair Nereid left the briny wave, 390 

And, as she us'd, retreated to her cave. 
He scarce had bound her fast, when she arose, 
And into various shapes her body throws : 
She went to move her arms, and found 'em ty'd; 
Then with a sigh, Some god assists, she cry'd, 395 
And in her proper shape stood blushing by his side. 
Afrout her waist his longing arms he flung, 
From which embrace the great Achilles sprung. 

Peleus unmix'd felicity enjoy'd 
(Blest in a valiant son, and virtuous bride), 400 

Till fortune did in blood his hands imbrue, 
And his own brother by curs'd chance he slew : 
Then driv'n from Thessaly, his native clime, 
Trachinia first gave shelter to his crime ; 
Where peaceful Ceyx mildly fill'd the throne, 405 
And like his sire, the morning planet shone; 

BOOK XI. 285 

But now unlike himself bedew'd with tears, 

Mourning a brother lost, his brow appears. 

First to the town with travel spent, and care, 

Peleus, and his small company repair: 410 

His herds, and flocks, the while at leisure feed, 

On the rich pasture of a neigbb'ring mead. 

The prince before the royal presence brought, 

Shew'd by the suppliant olive what he sought: 

Then tells his name, and race, and country right, 415 

But hides th' unhappy reason of his flight. 

He begs the king some little town to give, 

Where they may safe, his faithful vassals live. 

Ceyx replied: To all, my bounty flows; 

A hospitable realm your suit has chose: 420 

Your glorious race, and far-resounding fame, 

And grandsire Jove, peculiar favours claim. 

All you can wish, I grant; entreaties spare; 

My kingdom (would 'twere worth the sharing) share. 

Tears stopp'd his speech : astonish'd Peleus pleads 
To know the cause from whence his grief proceeds. 
The prince replied : There's none of ye but deems 
This hawk was ever such as now it seems : 
Know, 'twas a hero once, Daedalion nam'd, 
For warlike deeds and haughty valour fam'd; 430 
Like me to that bright luminary born, 
Who wakes Aurora, and brings on the morn. 
His fierceness still remains, and love of blood, 
Now dread of birds, and tyrant of the wood. 
My make was softer, peace my greatest care ; 435 
But this, my brother, wholly bent on war, 
Late nations fear'd, and routed armies fled 
That force, which now the tim'rous pigeons dread. 
A daughter he possess'd divinely fair, 
And scarcely yet had seen her fifteenth year, 440 
Young Chione : a thousand rivals strove 
To win the maid, and teach her how to love. 
Phoebus, and Mercury, by chance one day 
From Delphi, and Cyllene pass'd this way; 
Together they the virgin saw : desire 445 

At once warm'd both their breasts with am'rous fire. 
Phoebus resolv'd to wait till close of day : 


But Mercury's hot love brook'd no delay: 

With his entrancing rod the maid he charms, 

And unresisted revels in her arms. 450 

Twas night, and Phoebus in a beldame's dress, 

To the late rifled beauty got access. 

Her time complete nine circling moons had run : 

To either god she bore a lovely son : 

To Mercury, Autolycus she brought, 465 

Who turn'd to thefts and tricks his subtle thought ; 

Possest he was of all his father's slight, 

At will made white look black, and black look white. 

Philammon, born to Phoebus, like his sire 

The muses lov'd, and finely struck the lyre, 460 

And made his voice and touch in harmony conspire. 

In vain, fond maid, you boast this double birth, 

The love of gods, and royal father's worth, 

And Jove among your ancestors rehearse! 

Could blessings such as these e'er prove a curse 1 465 

To her they did, who with audacious pride, 

Vain of her own, Diana'3 charms decry'd. 

Her taunts the goddess with resentment fill. 

My face you like not, you shall try my skill. 469 

She said ; and straight her vengeful bow she strung, 

And sent a shaft that pierc'd her guilty tongue : 

The bleeding tongue in vain its accents tries; 

In the red stream her soul reluctant flies. 

With sorrow wild I ran to her relief, 

And tried to moderate my brother's grief; 475 

He, deaf as rocks by stormy surges beat, 

Loudly laments and hears me not intreat. 

When on the fun'ral pile he saw her laid, 

Thrice he to rush into the flames essay'd, 

Thrice with officious care by us was staid. 480 

Now, mad with grief, away he fled amain, 

Like a stung heifer that resents the pain, 

O'er the most rugged ways so fast he ran, 

He seem'd a bird already, not a man : 485 

He left us breathless all behind ; and now, 

In quest of death, had gain'd Parnassus' brow : 

But when from thence headlong himself he threw, 

He fell not, but with airy pinions flew. 

Phoebus in pity chang'd him to a fowl, 490 

BOOK XI. 287 

Whose crooked beak and claws the birds control, 
Little of bulk, but of a warlike soul. 
A hawk become, the feather'd race's foe, 
He tries to ease his own by other's woe. 

While they, astonish 'd, heard the king relate 495 
These wonders of his hapless brother's fate ; 
The prince's herdsman at the court arrives, 
And fresh surprise to all the audience gives : — 

Peleus, Peleus, dreadful news 1 bear 

(He said) ; and trembled as he spoke, for fear. 500 
The worst, affrighted Peleus bid him tell, 
Whilst Ceyx, too, grew pale with friendly zeal. 
Thus he began: When Sol mid-heav'n had gain'd, 
And half his way was pass'd, and half remain'd, 

1 to the level shore my cattle drove, 505 
And let them freely in the meadows rove ; 

Some stretch'd at length, admire the wat'ry plain; 

Some cropp'd the herb, some wanton swam the main. 

A temple stands of antique make, hard by, 

Where no gilt domes nor marble lure the eye; 510 

Unpolish'd rafters bear its lowly height, 

Hid by a grove, as ancient, from the sight. 

Here Nereus and the Nereids they adore ; 

I learnt it from the man who thither bore 

His net, to dry it on the sunny shore. 515 

Adjoins a lake, inclos'd with willows round, 

Where swelling waves have overflow'd the mound, 

And, muddy, stagnate on the lower ground. 

From thence a rustling noise increasing flies, 519 

Strikes the still shore, and frights us with surprise. 

Straight a huge wolf rush'd from the marshy wood, 

His jaws besmear'd with mingled foam and blood. 

Though equally by hunger urg'd, and rage, 

His appetite he minds not to assuage; 

Nought that he meets, his rapid fury spares, 525 

But the whole herd with mad disorder tears. 

Some of our men, who strove to drive him thence, 

Torn by his teeth, have died in their defence. 

The echoing lakes, the sea, and fields, and shore, 

Impurpled blush with streams of reeking gore. 530 

Delay is loss, nor have we time for thought; 


While yet some few remain alive, we ought 

To seize our arms, aud, with confederate force, 

Try if we so can stop his bloody course. 

But Peleus car'd not for his ruin'd herd ; 535 

His ciime he call'd to mind, and thence inferr'd, 

That Psamathe's revenge this havoc made, 

In sacrifice to murder'd Phocus' shade. 

The king commands hi3 servants to their arms, 

Resolv'd to go : but the loud noise alarms 540 

His lovely queen, who from her chamber flew, 

And her half-plaited hair behind her threw : 

About his neck she hung with loving fears, 

And now with words, and now with pleading tears, 

Intreated that he'd send his men alone, 545 

And stay himself to save two lives in one. 

Then Peleus: Your just fears, O queen, forget; 

Too much the offer leaves me in your debt. 

No arms against the monster I shall bear, 

But the sea-nymphs appease with humble pray'r. 550 

The citadel's high turrets pierce the sky, 
Which home-bound vessels, glad, from far descry ; 
This they ascend, and thence with sorrow ken, 
The mangled heifers lie, and bleeding men ; 
Th' inexorable ravager they view, 555 

With blood discolour'd, still the rest pursue : 
There Peleus pray'd submissive tow'rds the sea, 
And deprecates the ire of injur'd Psamathe. 
But deaf to all his pray'rs the nymph remain'd, 
Till Thetis for her spouse the boon obtain'd. 560 

Pleas'd with the luxury, the furious beast, 
Unstopp'd, continues still his bloody feast : 
While yet upon a sturdy bull he flew, 
Chang'd by the nymph, a marble block he grew. 
No longer dreadful now the wolf appears, 565 

Buried in stone, and vanish'd like their fears. 
Yet still the fates unhappy Peleus vex'd: 
To the Magnesian shore he wanders next. 
Acastus there, who rul'd the peaceful clime, 
Grants his request, and expiates his crime. 570 

These prodigies affect the pious prince, 
But more perplex'd with those that happen'd since, 

BOOK XI. 289 

He purposes to seek tbe Clarian god, 

Avoiding Delphi, his more fam'd abode, 

Since Phlegian robbers made unsafe the road. 575 

Yet could he not from her be lov'd so well, 

The fatal voyage, he resolv'd, conceal ; 

But when she saw her lord prepar'd to part, 

A deadly cold ran shiv'ring to her heart ; 

Her faded cheeks are chang'd to boxen hue, 580 

And in her eyes the tears are ever new. 

She thrice essay'd to speak; her accents hung, 

And fault'ring died unfinish'd on her tongue, 

Or vanish'd into sighs : With long delay 

Her voice return'd, and found the wonted way. 585 

Tell me, my lord (she said), what fault unknown 
Thy once-belov'd Alcyone has done 1 
Whither, ah whither, is thy kindness gone ? 
Can Ceyx then sustain to leave his wife, 
And unconcerned forsake the sweets of life 1 590 

What can thy mind to this long journey move? 
Or need'st thou absence to renew thy love ? 
Yet, if thou go'st by land, though grief possess 
My soul e'en then, my fears will be the less. 
But ah ! be warn'd to shun the wat'ry way, 595 

The face is frightful of the stormy sea: 
For late I saw adrift disjointed planks, 
And empty tombs erected on the banks. 
Nor let false hopes to trust betray thy mind, 
Because my sire in caves constrains the wind, 600 
Can with a breath their clam'rous rage appease, 
They fear his whistle, and forsake the seas : 
Not so ; for once indulg'd, they sweep the main ; 
Deaf to the call, or, hearing, hear in vain ; 
But bent on mischief, bear the waves before, C.O~> 

And not content with seas, insult the shore, 
When ocean, air, and earth, at once engage, 
And rooted forests fly before their rage : 
At once the clashing clouds to battle move, 
And lightnings run across the fields above : 610 

I know them well, and mark'd their rude comport, 
While yet a child within my father's court : 
In times of tempest they command alone, 


And he but sits precarious on the throne : 

The more I know, the more my fears augment; 615 

And fears are oft prophetic of th' event. 

But, if not fears or reasons will prevail, 

If fate has fix'd thee obstinate to sail, 

Go not without thy wife, but let me bear 

My part of danger with an equal share, 620 

And present, what I suffer, only fear : 

Then o'er the bounding billows shall we fly, 

Secure to live together, or to die. 

These reasons mov'd her warlike husband's heart, 
But still he held his purpose to depart: 625 

For as he lov'd her equal to his life, 
He would not to the seas expose bis wife ; 
Nor could be wrought his voyage to refrain, 
But sought by arguments to soothe her pain: 
Nor these avail'd ; at length he lights on one, 630 
With which so difficult a cause he won : 
My love, so short an absence cease to fear, 
For by my father's hely flame I swear, 
Before two moons their orb with light adorn, 
If heav'n allow me life, I will return. 035 

This promise of so short a stay prevails; 
He soon equips the ship, supplies the sails, 
And gives the word to launch ; she trembling 

This pomp of death, and parting tears renews : 
Last with a kiss, she took a long farewell, 640 

Sigh'd with a sad presage, and, swooning, fell: 
"While Ceyx seeks delays, the lusty crew, 
Rais'd on their banks, their oars in order drew 
To their broad breasts; the ship with fury flew. 
The queen, recover'd, rears her humid eyes, 6-15 

And first her husband on the poop espies, 
Shaking his hand at distance on the main ; 
Sbe took the sign, and shook her hand again. 
Still as the ground recedes, contracts her view 
With sharpen 'd sight, till she no longer knew 650 
The much-lov'd face; that comfort lost supplies 
With less, and with the galley feeds her eyes; 
The galley borne from view by rising gales, 
She follow'd with ber sight the flying sails: 


When e'en the flying sails were seen no more, 655 
Forsaken of all sight she left the shore. 

Then on her bridal bed her body throws, 
And sought in sleep her wearied eyes to .close: 
Her husband's pillow, and the widow'd part 
Which once he press'd, renew'd the former smart. 660 

And now a breeze from shore began to blow, 
The sailors ship their oars, and cease to row ; 
Then hoist their yards a-trip, and all their sails 
Let fall, to court the wind, and catch the gales : 
By this the vessel half her course had run, 605 

And as much rested till the rising sun ; 
Both shores were lost to sight, when, at the close 
Of day, a stiffer gale at east arose : 
The sea grew white, the rolling waves from far, 
like heralds, first denounce the wat'ry war. 670 

This seen, the master soon began to cry : 
Strike, strike the top-sail; let the main-sheet fly, 
And furl your sails. The winds repel the sound, 
And in the speaker's mouth the speech is drown'd. 
Yet of their own accord, as danger taught, 675 

Each in his way officiously they wrought ; 
Some stow their oars, or stop the leaky sides; 
Another bolder yet, the yard bestrides, 
And folds the sails ; a fourth with labour laves 
Th' intruding seas, and waves ejects on waves. 680 

In this confusion while their work they ply, 
The winds augment the winter of the sky, 
And wage intestine wars; the suff 'ring seas 
Are tost and mingled as their tyrants please. 
The master would command, but in despair 685 

Of safety, stands amaz'd with stupid care ; 
Nor what to bid or what forbid he knows; 
Th' ungovern'd tempest to such fury grows; 
Vain is his force, and vainer is his skill ; 
With such a concourse comes the flood of ill; 690 

The cries of men are mix'd with rattling shrouds ; 
Seas dash on seas, and clouds encounter clouds : 
At once from east to west, from pole to pole, 
The forky lightnings flash, the roaring thunders roll. 

Now waves on waves ascending scale the skies, 605 
And in the fires above the water fries; 


When yellow sands are sifted from below, 

The glitt'ring billows give a golden show; 

And when the fouler bottom spews the black, 

The Stygian die the tainted waters take: 700 

Then frothy whi te appear the flatted seas, 

And change their colours, changing their disease. 

Like various fits the Trachin vessel finds, 

And now sublime she rides upon the winds; 

As from a lofty summit looks from high, 705 

And from the clouds beholds the nether sky; 

Now from the depth of hell they lift their sight: 

And at a distance see superior light: 

The lashing billows make a loud report, 

And beat her sides, as batt'ring-rams a fort: 710 

Or as a lion bounding in his way, 

With force augmented, bears against his prey 

Sidelong to seize ; or, unappall'd with fear, 

Springs on the toils, and rushes on the spear : 

So seas impell'd by winds, with added pow'r 715 

Assault the sides and o'er the hatches tow'r. 

The planks (their pitchy cov'ring wash'd away) 
Now yield ; and now a yawning breach display : 
The roaring waters, with a hostile tide, 
Rush through the ruins of her gaping side ; 720 

Meantime in sheets of rain the sky descends, 
And ocean swell'd with waters upwards tends ; 
One rising, falling one, the heav'ns and sea 
Meet at their confines in the middle way : 
The sails are drunk with show'rs, and drop witb rain, 
Sweet waters mingle with the briny main. 726 

No star appears to lend his friendly light; 
Darkness and tempest make a double night ; 
But flashing fires disclose the deep by turns, 
And while the lightnings blaze, the water burns. 730 

Now all the waves their scatter'd force unite, 
And as a soldier foremost in the fight, 
Makes way for others, and an host alone 
Still presses on, and, urging, gains the town ; 
So while th' invading billows come a-breast, 735 

The hero tenth advanc'd before the rest, 
Sweeps all before him with impetuous sway, 
And from the walls descends upon the prey; 

BOOK XI. 293 

Part following enter, part remain without, 
With envy hear their fellows' conqu'ring shout, 740 
And mount on others' backs, in hopes to share 
The city, thus become the seat of war. 

A universal crowd resounds aloud, 
The sailors run in heaps, a helpless crowd ; 
Art fails, and courage falls, no succour near; 745 

As many waves, as many deaths appear. 
One weeps, and yet despairs of late relief; 
One cannot weep, his fears congeal his grief, 
But stupid, with dry eyes expects his fate : 
One, with loud shrieks, laments his lost estate, 750 
And calls those happy whom their fun'rals wait. 
This wretch with pray'rs and vows the gods implores, 
And e'en the skies, he cannot see, adores. 
That other on his friends, his thoughts bestows, 
His careful father, and his faithful spouse. 755 

The covetous worldling in his anxious mind, 
Thinks only on the wealth he left behind. 

All Ceyx his Alcyone employs, 
For her he grieves, yet in her absence joys, 
His wife he wishes, and would still be near, 760 

Nor her with him, but wishes him with her: 
Now with last looks he seeks his native shore, 
Which fate has destin'd him to see no more ; 
He sought, but in the dark, tempestuous night, 
He knew not whither to direct his sight. 765 

So whirl the seas, such darkness blinds the sky, 
That the black night receives a deeper die. 

The giddy ship ran round; the tempest tore 
Her mast, and overboard the rudder bore ; 
One billow mounts, and, with a scornful brow. 770 
Proud of her conquest gain 'd, insults the waves below ; 
Nor lighter falls, than if some giant tore 
Pindus and Athos with the freight they bore, 
And toss'd on seas, prest with the pond'rous blow, 
Down sinks the ship within the abyss below. 775 

Down with the vessel sink into the main ; 
The many, never more to rise again. 
Some few, on scatter'd planks, with fruitless care 
Lay hold and swim ; but while they swim, despair. 

E'en he who late a sceptre did command, 780 


Now grasps a floating fragment in his hand; 

And while he struggles on the stormy main, 

Invokes his father, and his wife's in vain. 

But yet his consort is his greatest care ; 

Alcyone he names amidst his pray'r ; 785 

Names as a charm against the waves and wind, 

Most in his mouth, and ever in his mind. 

Tir'd with his toil, all hopes of safety past, 

From prayers to wishes he descends at last ; 

That his dead body, wafted to the sands, 790 

Might have its burial from her friendly hands. 

As oft as he can catch a gulp of air, 

And peep above the seas, he names the fair; 

And e'en when plung'd beneath, on her he raves, 

Murm'ring Alcyone beneath the waves : 795 

At last a falling billow stops his breath, 

Breaks o'er his head, and whelms him underneath. 

Bright Lucifer, unlike himself, appears 

That night, his heav'nly form obscur'd with tears : 

And since he was forbid to leave the skies, 800 

He muffled with a cloud his mourn fui eyes. 

Meantime Alcyone (his fate unknown) 
Computes how many nights he had been gone; 
Observes the waning moon with hourly view, 
Numbers her age, and wishes for a new; 805 

Against the promis'd time provides with care, 
And hastens in the woof the robes he was to wear : 
And for herself employs another loom, 
New drest to meet her lord returning home, 
Flatt'ring her heart with joys that never were to come: 
She fum'd the temples with an od'rous flame, 811 
And oft before the sacred altars came, 
To pray for him who was an empty name. 
All pow'rs implor'd, but far above the rest, 
To Juno she her pious vows address'd* 815 

Her much-lov'd lord from perils to p rotect, 
And safe o'er seas his voyage to direct : 
Then pray'd, that she might still possess his heart, 
And no pretending rival share a part; 
This last petition heard of all her pray'r, 820 

The rest, dispers'd by winds, were lo3t in air. 

But she, the goddess of the nuptial bed, 

BOOK XI. 295 

Tir'd with her vain devotions for the dead, 

Resolv'd the tainted hand should he repell'd, 

Which incense offer'd, and her altar held : 825 

Then Iris thus bespoke; Thou faithful maid, 

By whom thy queen's commands are well convey'd, 

Haste to the house of Sleep, and bid the god 

Who rules the night by visions with a nod, 

Prepare a dream, in figure and in form 830 

Resembling him, who perish'd in the storm; 

This form before Alcyone present, 

To make her certain of the sad event. 

Indu'd with robes of various hue she flies, 834 

And flying draws an arch (a segment of the skies) : 
Then leaves her bending bow, and from the steep 
Descends to search the silent house of Sleep. 

Near the Cymmerians, in his dark abode, 
Deep in a cavern, dwells the drowsy god; 
Whose gloomy mansion nor the rising sun, 840 

Nor setting, visits, nor the lightsome noon ; 
But lazy vapours round the region fly, 
Perpetual twilight, and a doubtful sky : 
No crowing cock does there his wings display, 
Nor with his horny bill provoke the day ; 845 

Nor watchful dogs, nor the more wakeful geese, 
Disturb, with nightly noise, the sacred peace ; 
Nor beast of nature, nor the tame are nigh, 
Nor trees with tempests rock'd, nor human cry ; 
But safe Repose, without an air of breath, 850 

Dwells here, and a dumb quiet next to death. 

An arm of Lethe with a gentle flow, 
Arising upwards from the rock below, 
The palace moats, and o'er the pebbles creeps, 
And with soft murmurs calls the coming sleeps. 855 
Around its entry nodding poppies grow, 
And all cool simples that sweet rest bestow; 
Night from the plants their sleepy virtue drains, 
And passing, sheds it on the silent plains : 
No door there was th' unguarded house to keep, 860 
On creaking hinges turn'd, to break his sleep. 

But in the gloomy court was rais'd a bed, 
Stuff'd with black plumes, and on an ebon stead; 


Black was the cov'ring too where lay the god, 
And slept supine, his limbs display 'd abroad: 865 

About his head fantastic visions fly, 
Which various images of things supply, 
And mock their forms ; the leaves on trees not more, 
Nor bearded ears in fields, nor sands upon the shore. 
The virgin ent'ring bright, indulg'd the day 870 
To the brown cave, and brush'd the dreams away : 
The god disturb'd with this new glare of light 
Cast sudden on his face, unseal'd his sight. 
And rais'd his tardy head, which sunk again, 
And sinking, on his bosom knock'd his chin ; 875 

At length shook off himself, and ask'd the dame 
(And asking yawn'd), for what intent she came. 

To whom the goddess thus : O sacred Rest, 
Sweet pleasing Sleep, of all the pow'rs the best! 
O peace of mind, repairer of decay, 8S0 

Whose balms renew the limbs to labours of the day, 
Care shuns thy soft approach, and sullen flies away! 
Adorn a dream, expressing human form, 
The shape of him who suffer'd in the storm, 
And send it flitting to the Trachin court, 885 

The wreck of wretched Ceyx to report: 
Before his queen bid the pale spectre stand, 
Who begs a vain relief at Juno's hand. 
She said, and scarce awake her eyes could keep, 
Unable to support the fume3 of sleep; 890 

But fled, returning by the way she went, 
And swerv'd along her bow with swift ascent. 

The god, uneasy till he slept again, 
Resolv'd at once to rid himself of pain ; 
And, though against his custom, call'd aloud, 895 

Exciting Morpheus from the sleepy crowd : 
Morpheus, of all his numerous train, express'd 
The shape of man, and imitated best : 
The walk, the words, the gesture could supply, 
The habit mimic, and the mien bely ; 900 

Plays well, but all his action is confm'd, 
Extending not beyond our human kind. 
Another, birds, and beasts, and dragons ape3, 
And dreadful images, and monster shapes: 
This demon, Icelos, in heav'n's high hall, 905 

BOOK XI. 297 

The gods have nam'd; but men Phobetor call. 

A third is Phantasus, whose actions roll 

On meaner thoughts, and things devoid of soul; 

Earth, fruits, and flow'rs, he represents in dreams, 

And solid rocks remov'd, and running streams. 910 

These three to kings and chiefs their scenes display, 

The rest before th' ignoble commons play. 

Of these the chosen Morpheus is dispatch'd ; 

Which done, the lazy monarch, overwatch'd, 

Down from his propping elbow drops his head, 915 

Dissolv'd in sleep, and shrinks within his bed. 

Darkling the demon glides, for flight prepar'd, 
So soft, that scarce his fanning wings are heard. 
To Trachin, swift as thought, the flitting 3hade, 
Through air his momentary journey made ; 920 

Then lays aside the steerage of his wings, 
Forsakes his proper form, assumes the king's ; 
And pale as death, despoil'd of his array, 
Into the queen's apartment takes his way, 
And stands before the bed at dawn of day; 925 

Unmov'd his eyes and wet his beard appears ; 
And shedding vain, but seeming real tears; 
The briny water dropping from his hairs. 
Then staring on her with a ghastly look, 
And hollow voice, he thus the queen bespoke: 930 

Know'st thou not me? nor yet, unhappy wife 1 
Or are my features perish'd with my life? 
Look once again, and for thy husband lost, 
Lo all that's left of him, thy husband's ghost ! 
Thy vows for my return were all in vain, 935 

The stormy south o'er took us in the main, 
And never shalt thou see thy living lord again. 
Bear witness, heav'n, I call'd on thee in death, 
And while I call'd, a billow stopp'd my breath. 
Think not, that flying fame reports my fate : 940 

I present, I appear, and my own wreck relate. 
Rise, wretched widow, rise ; nor undeplor'd 
Permit my soul to pass the Stygian ford ; 
But rise, prepar'd in black, to mourn thy perish'd lord. 

Thus said the player-god ; and adding art 945 

Of voice, of gesture, so perform'd his part, 
She thought (so like her love the shade appears), 


That Ceyx spake the words, and Ceyx shed the tears 
She groan'd, her inward soul with grief opprest, 949 
She sigh'd, she wept, and, sleeping, beat her breast ; 
Then stretch'd her arms t' embrace his body bare; 
Her clasping arms enclose but empty air: 
At this not yet awake, she cry'd, 0, stay; 
One is our fate, and common is our way ! 

So dreadful was the dream, so loud she spoke, 955 
That starting sudden up, the slumber broke : 
Then cast her eyes around, in hope to view 
Her vanish'd lord, and find the vision true : 
For now the maids who waited her commands, 
Ran in with lighted tapers in their hands. 960 

Tir'd with the search, nor finding what she seeks, 
With cruel blows she pounds her blubber'd cheeks ; 
Then from her beaten breast the linen tear, 
And cut the golden caul that bound her hair. 
Her nurse demands the cause ; with louder cries 965 
She prosecutes her griefs, and thus replies : 

No more Alcyone ; she suffer'd death 
With her lov'd lord, when Ceyx lost his breath : 
No flatt'ry, no false comfort, give me none, 
My shipwreck'd Ceyx is for ever gone : 970 

I saw, I saw him manifest in view, 
His voice, his figure, and his gestures knew : 
His lustre lost, and ev'ry living grace, 
Yet I retain'd the features of his face ; 974 

Though with pale cheeks, wet beard, and dropping 
None but my Ceyx could appear so fair : [hair 

I would have strain'd him with a strict embrace, 
But through my arms he slipt, and vanish'd from the 

place : 
There, e'en just there he stood; — and as she spoke, 
Where last the spectre was she cast her look : 980 
Fain would she hope, and gaz'd upon the ground, 
If any printed footsteps might be found. 

Then sigh'd, and said : This I too well foreknew, 
And my prophetic fears presag'd too true : 
'Twas what I begg'd, when with a bleeding heart 995 
I took my leave, and suffer'd thee to part : 
Or I to go along, or thou to stay, 
Never, ah never to divide our way! 

BOOK XI. 299 

Happier for me, that all our hours assign'd 989 

Together we had liv'd ; e'en not in death disjoin'd ! 

So had my Ceyx still been living here, 

Or with my Ceyx I had perish'd there : 

Now I die absent in the vast profound ; 

And me without myself the seas have drown'd : 

The storms are not so cruel ; should I strive 995 

To lengthen life, and such a grief survive? 

But neither will I strive, nor wretched thee 

In death forsake, but keep thee company. 

If not one common sepulchre contains 

Our bodies, or one urn our last remains, 1000 

Yet Ceyx and Alcyone shall join, 

Their names remember'd in one common line. 

No farther voice her mighty grief affords, 
For sighs came rushing in between her words, 1004 
And stopp'd her tongue : but what her tongue deny'd, 
Soft tears and groans, and dumb complaints supply'd. 

'Twas morning : to the port she takes her way, 
And stands upon the margin of the sea : 
That place, that very spot of ground she sought, 
Or thither by her destiny was brought, 1010 

Where last he stood: and while she sadly said, 
'Twas here he left me, ling'ring here delay'd 
His parting kiss, and there his anchors weigh'd. 

Thus speaking, while her thoughts past actions trace, 
And call to mind, admonish'd by the place, 1015 

Sharp at her utmost ken she cast her eyes, 
And somewhat floating from afar descries : 
It seem'd a corse a-drift to distant sight, 
But at a distance who could judge aright? 
It wafted nearer yet, and then she knew, 1020 

That what before she but surmis'd, was true : 
A corse it was, but whose, it was unknown, 
Yet mov'd howe'er, she made the case her own : 
Took the bad omen of a shipwreck'd man, 
As for a stranger wept, and thus began : 1025 

Poor wretch, on stormy seas to lose thy life, 
Unhappy thou, but more thy widow'd wife! — 
At this she paus'd; for now the flowing tide 
Had brought the body nearer to the side : 
Tho mere she looks, the more her fears increase, 1030 


At nearer sight; and she herself the less: 

Now driv'n ashore, and at her feet it lies, 

She knows too much in knowing whom she sees: 

Her husband's corse ! at this she loudly shrieks, 

'Tis he, 'tis he ! she cries, and tears her cheeks, 1035 

Her hair, and vest; and stooping to the sands, 

About his neck she cast her trembling hands. 

And is it thus, dearer than my life, 
Thus, thus return 'st thou to thy longing wife? — 
She said, and to the neighb'ring mole she strode 1040 
(Rais'd there to break th' incursions of the flood). 

Headlong from thence to plunge herself she springs, 
But shoots along, supported on her wings; 
A bird new-made, about the banks she plies, 
Not far from shore, and short excursions tries; 1045 
Nor seeks in air her humble flight to raise, 
Content to skim the surface of the seas : 
Her bill, though slender, sends a creaking noise, 
And imitates a lamentable voice. 
Now lighting where the bloodless body lies, 1050 

She with a fun'ral note renews her cries : 
At all her stretch, her little wings she spread, 
And with her feather'd arms embrac.'d the dead, 
Then flick'ring to his pallid lips she strove 
To print a kiss, the last essay of love. 1055 

Whether the vital touch reviv'd the dead, 
Or that the moving waters rais'd his head 
To meet the kiss, the vulgar doubt alone ; 
For sure a present miracle was shewn. 
The gods their shapes to winter-birds translate, 1060 
But both obnoxious to their former fate. 
Their conjugal affection still is tied, 
And still the mournful race is multiplied : 
They bill, they tread; Alcyone compress'd, 
Seven days sits brooding on her floating nest; 1065 
A wintry queen : her sire at length is kind, 
Calms ev'ry storm, and hushes ev'ry wind; 
Prepares his empire for his daughter's ease, • 
And for his hatching nephews smooths the seas. 

These some old man sees wanton in the air, 1070 
And praises the unhappy constant pair, 
Then to his friend the long-neck'd corm'rant shews, 

BOOK XI. 301 

The former tale reviving other's woes : 

That sable bird (he cries), which cuts the flood, 

With slender legs, was once of royal blood; 1075 

His ancestors from mighty Tros proceed, 

The brave Labmedon, and Ganymede 

(Whose beauty tempted Jove to steal the boy), 

And Priam, hapless prince ! who fell with Troy. 

Himself was Hector's brother, and (had fate 10SO 

But given his hopeful youth a longer date) 

Perhaps had rivall'd warlike Hector's worth, 

Though on the mother's side of meaner birth. 

Fair Alyxothoe, a country maid, 

Bare iEsacus by stealth in Ida's shade. 1085 

He fled the noisy town, and pompous court, 

Lov'd the lone hills, and simple rural sport, 

And seldom to the city would resort. 

Yet he no rustic clownishness profess'd, 

Nor was soft love a stranger to his breast : 1090 

The youth had long the nymph Hesperie woo'd, 

Oft through the thicket, or the mead pursu'd : 

Her haply on her father's bank he spy'd 

While fearless she her silver tresses dry'd; 

Away she fled: not stags, with half such speed, 1095 

Before the prowling wolf scud o'er the mead; 

Not ducks, when they the safer flood forsake, 

Pursu'd by hawks, so swift regain the lake. 

As fast she follow'd in the hot career; 

Desire the lover wing'd, the virgin fear. 1100 

A snake unseen now pierc'd her heedless foot : 

Quick through the veins the venom'd juices shoot: 

She fell, and 'scap'd by death his fierce pursuit; 

Her lifeless body, frighted, be embrac'd, 

And cry'd, Not this I dreaded, but thy haste : 1105 

0» had my love been less, or less thy fear! 

The victory, thus bought, is far too dear. 

Accursed snake ! yet I more curs'd than he! 

He gave the wound, the cause was giv'n by me. 

Yet none shall say that unreveng'd you died. 1110 

He spoke ; then climb'd a cliffs e'erhanging side, 

And, resolute, leap'd on the foaming tide. 

Tethys receiv'd him gently on the wave : 

The death he sought deny'd, and feathers gave. 


Debarr'd the surest remedy of grief, 1115 

And forc'd to live, he curs'd th' unask'd relief. 

Then on his airy pinions upwards flies, 

And at a second fall successless tries ; 

The downy plume a quick descent denies. 

Enrag'd, he often dives beneath the wave, 1120 

And there in vain expects to find a grave. 

His ceaseless sorrow for th' unhappy maid, 

Meager'd his look, and on his spirits prey'd, 

Still near the sounding deep he lives; his name 

From frequent diving and emerging came. 1125 



The Trojan war. The house of fame. The story of Cygmis. 
The story of Ceeneus. The skirmish between the Centaurs and 
Lapithites. The story of Cyllarus and Hilonome. Caeneus 
transformed to an eagle. The fate of Periclymenos. The 
death of Achilles. 

Priam, to whom the story was unknown, 

As dead, deplor'd his metamorphos'd son : 

A cenotaph his name and title kept, 

And Hector round the tomb with all his brothers wept. 

This pious office Paris did not share, 5 

Absent alone, and author of the war, 
Which for the Spartan queen, the Grecians drew 
T' avenge the rape; and Asia to subdue. 

A thousand ships were mann'd to sail the sea : 
Nor had their just resentments found delay, 10 

Had not the winds and waves oppos'd their way. 
At Aulis, with united pow'rs they meet, 
But there cross-winds or calms detain'd the fleet. 
Now while they raise an altar on the shore, 
And Jove with solemn sacrifice adore, 15 

A boding sign the priests and people see: 
A snake of size immense ascends a tree, 
And, in the leafy summit spy'd a nest, 
Which o'er her callow young, a sparrow press'd. 
Eight were the birds unfledg'd ; their mother flew, 20 
And hover'd round her care ; but still in view : 

BOOK XII. 303 

Till the fierce reptile first devour' d the brood; 

Then seizM the flutt'ring dam, and drank her blood. 

This dire ostent the fearful people view ; 

Calchas alone, by Phoebus taught, foreknew 25 

What heav'n decreed ; and with a smiling glance, 

Thus gratulates to Greece her happy chance : 

O Argives, we shall conquer : Troy is ours, 

But long delays shall first afflict our pow'rs: 

Nine years of labour, the nine birds portend ; 30 

The tenth shall in the town's destruction end. 

The serpent, who his maw obscene had fill'd, 
The branches in his curl'd embraces held : 
But, as in spires he stood, he turn'd to stone: 
The stony snake retain'd the figure still his own. 35 
Yet, not for this, the wind-bound navy weigh'd; 
Slack were their sails; and Neptune disobey'd. 
Some thought him loth the town should be destroy 'd, 
Whose building had his hands divine employ'd; 
Not so the seer ; who knew, and known foreshew'd, 
The virgin Phoebe, with a virgin's blood, 41 

Must first be reconcil'd: the common cause 
Prevail'd ; and pity yielding to the laws, 
Fair Iphigenia, the devoted maid, 
Was by the weeping priests, in linen robes array'd; 
All mourn her fate: but no relief appear 'd, 46 

The royal victim bound, the knife already rear'd : 
When that offended pow'r, who caus'd their woe, 
Relenting ceas'd her wrath, and stopp'd the coming 
A mist before the ministers she cast, [blow. 

And in the virgin's room a hind she plac'd. 51 

The oblation slain, and Phoebe reconcil'd, 
The storm was hush'd, and dimpled ocean smil'd: 
A favourable gale arose from shore, 
Which to the port desir'd, the Grecian galleys bore. 

Full in the midst of this created space, 56 

Betwixt heav'n, earth, and skies, there stands a place, 
Confining on all three, with triple bound; 
Whence all things, though remote, are view'd around, 
And thither bring their undulating sound. 60 

The palace of loud Fame, her seat of pow'r, 
Plac'd on the summit of a lofty tow'r ; 


A thousand winding entries long and wide, 

Receive of fresh reports a flowing tide. 

A thousand crannies in the walls are made; 65 

Nor gate, nor bars, exclude the busy trade. 

'Tis built of brass, the better to diffuse 

The spreading sounds, and multiply the news; 

Where echoes in repeated echoes play : 

A mart for ever full, and open night and day. 70 

Nor silence is within, nor voice express, 

But a deaf noise of sounds that never cease. 

Confus'd, and chiding like the hollow roar 

Of tides, receding from th' insulted shore ; 

Or like the broken thunder heard from far, 75 

When Jove at distance drives the rolling war. 

The courts are fill'd with a tumultuous din 

Of crowds or issuing forth, or ent'ring in : 

A thoroughfare of news : Where some devise 

Things never heard, some mingle truth with lies; 80 

The troubled air with empty sounds they beat, 

Intent to hear, and eager to repeat. 

Error sits brooding there, with added train 

Of vain credulity, and joys as vain ; 

Suspicion, with sedition join'd, are near, 85 

And rumours rais'd ; and murmurs mix'd, and panic 

Fame sits aloft, and sees the subject ground ; [fear. 

And seas about, and skies above ; inqxiiring all around. 

The goddess gives th' alarm ; and soon is known 
The Grecian fleet, descending on the town. 90 

Fix'd on defence, the Trojans are not slow 
To guard their shore from an expected foe. 
They meet in hght : By Hector's fatal hand 
Protesilaiis falls, and bites the strand ; 
Which with expense of blood the Grecians won : 95 
And prov'd the strength unknown of Priam's son ; 
And to their cost the Trojan leaders felt 
The Grecian heroes ; and what deaths they dealt. 

From these first onsets, the Sigaean shore 
Was strew'd with carcases, and stain'd with gore : 
Neptunian Cygnus troops of Greeks had slain : 101 
Achilles, in his car, had scour'd the plain, 
And clear'd the Trojan ranks : Where'er he fought, 

BOOK XII. 305 

Cygnus, or Hector, through the fields he sought ; 

Cygnus be found: On him his force essay'd: 105 

For Hector was to the tenth year delay'd. 

His white-man'd steeds, that bow'd beneath the yoke, 

He cheer'd to courage with a gentle stroke : 

Then urg'd his fiery chariot on the foe ; 

And rising shook his lance ; in act to throw. 110 

But first he cry'd, O youth, be proud to bear 

Thy death ennobled by Pelides' spear. 

The lance pursu'd the voice, without delay, 

Nor did the whizzing weapon miss the way ; 

But pierc'd bis cuirass, with such fury sent, 115 

And sign'd his bosom with a purple dint. 

At this the seed of Neptune : Goddess-born, 

For ornament, not use, these arms are worn; 

This helm, and heavy buckler, I can spare ; 

As only decorations of the war: 120 

So Mars is arm'd for glory, not for need. 

'Tis somewhat more from Neptune to proceed, 

Than from a daughter of the sea to spring: 

Thy sire is mortal; mine is ocean's king. 

Secure of death, I should contemn thy dart, 125 

Though naked ; and impassible depart : 

He said, and threw; the trembling weapon pass'd 

Through nine bull-hides, each under other plac'd, 

On his broad shield; and stuck within the last. 

Achilles wren ch'd it out ; and sent again 130 

The hostile gift ; the hostile gift was vain : 

He try'd a third, a tough, well-chosen spear; 

Th' inviolable body stood sincere, 

Though Cygnus then did no defence provide, 

But scornful ofFer'd his unshielded side. 135 

Not otherwise th' impatient hero far'd, 
Than as a bull encompass'd with a guard 
Amid the circus roars, provok'd from far 
By sight of scarlet, and a sanguine war: 
They quit their ground, his bending horns elude ; 140 
In vain pursuing, and in vain pursu'd. 

Before to farther fight he would advance, 
He stood consid'ring, and survey'd his lance; 
Doubts if he wielded not a wooden spear 
Without a point : He look'd ; the point was there. 


This is my hand, and this my lance (he said) 146 

By which so many thousand foes are dead: 

O, whither is their usual virtue fled ! 

I had it once ; and the Lyrnessian wall, 

And Tenedos, confess'd it in their fall. 150 

Thy streams, Caicus, roll'd a crimson flood ; 

And Thebes ran red with her own natives' blood. 

Twice Telephus employ'd this piercing steel, 

To wound him first, and afterwards to heal. 

The vigour of this arm was never vain : 155 

And that my wonted prowess I retain, 

Witness these heaps of slaughter on the plain. 

He said ; and, doubtful of his former deeds, 

To some new trial of his force proceeds. 

He chose Mensetes from among the rest; 160 

At him he launch'd his spear, and pierc'd his breast : 

On the hard earth the Lycian knock'd his head, 

And lay supine ; and forth the spirit fled. 

Then thus the hero : neither can I blame 
The hand or jav'lin; both are still the same. 165 

The same I will employ against this foe, 
And wish but with the same success to throw. 
So spoke the chief; and while he spoke, he threw : 
The weapon with unerring fury flew, 
At his left shoulder aim'd : nor entrance found ; 170 
But back, as from a rock, with swift rebound 
Harmless return'd : A bloody mark appear'd, 
Which with false joy the flatter'd hero cheer'd. 
Wound there was none ; the blood that was in view, 
The lance before from slain Menaetes drew. 175 

Headlong he leaps from off his lofty car, 
And in close fight on foot renews the war, 
Raging with high disdain, repeats his blows ; 
Nor shield, nor armour can their force oppose ; 
Huge cantlets of his buckler strew the ground, 180 
And no defence in his bor'd arms is found. 
But on his flesh no wound or blood is seen, 
The sword itself is blunted on the skin. 

This vain attempt the chief no longer bears, 
But round his hollow temples and his cars 185 

His buckler beats : the son of Neptune, stunn'd 

BOOK XII. 307 

With these repeated huffets, quits his ground ; 
A sickly sweat succeeds, and shades of night ; 
Inverted nature swims before his sight: 
Th' insulting victor presses on the more, 190 

And treads the steps the vanquish'd trod before. 
Nor rest, nor respite gives. A stone there lay 
Behind his trembling foe, and stopp'd his way; 
Achilles took th' advantage which he found, 
O'er-turn'd, andpush'd him backward on the ground, 
His buckler held him under, while he press'd, 196 
With both his knees, above, his panting breast, 
Unlac'd his helm : About his chin the twist 
He ty'd ; and soon the strangled soul dismiss'd. 

With eager haste he went to strip the dead; 200 
The vanish'd body from his arms was fled. 
His sea-god sire, t' immortalize his fame, 
Had turn'dit to a bird that bears his name. 
A truce succeeds the labours of this day, 
And arms suspended with a long delay. 206 

While Trojan walls are kept with watch and ward ; 
The Greeks before their trenches mount the guard: 
The feast approach'd; when to the blue ey'd maid 
His vows for Cygnus slain the victor paid, 
And a white heifer on her altar laid. 210 

The reeking entrails on the fire they threw, 
And to the gods the grateful odour flew : 
Heav'n had its part in sacrifice ; the rest 
Wasbroil'd, and roasted for the future feast. 
The chief invited guests were set around, 215 

And hunger first assuag'd, the bowls were crown'd ; 
Which in deep draughts their cares and labours 

The mellow harp did not their ears employ, 
And mute was all the warlike symphony. 
Discourse, the food of souls, was their delight, 220 
And pleasing chat prolong'd the summer's night. 
The subject, deeds of arms ; and valour shewn 
Or on the Trojan side, or on their own. 
Of dangers undertaken, fame achiev'd, 
They talk by turns ; the talk by turns reliev'd. 225 
What things but these could fierce Achilles tell, 


Or what could fierce Achilles hear so well? 
The last great act perform'd, of Cygnus slain, 
Did most the martial audience entertain, 
Wond'ring to find a body free by fate 230 

From steel ; and which could e'en that steel rebate : 
Amaz'd, their admiration they renew ; 
And scarce Pelides could believe it true. 

Then Nestor thus: What once this age has known 
In fated Cygnus, and in him alone, 235 

These eyes have seen in Cameus long before ; 
Whose body not a thousand swords could bore, 
Casneus, in courage, and in strength excell'd ; 
And still his Othrys with his fame is filPd : 
But what did most his martial deeds adorn, 240 

(Though since he chang'd his sex) a woman born. 

A novelty so strange, and full of fate, 
His list'ning audience ask'd him to relate. 
Achilles thus commends their common suit : 
O father, first for prudence, in repute, 245 

Tell, with that eloquence, so much thy own, 
What thou hast heard, or what of Caeneus known ; 
What was he, whence his change of sex begun, 
What trophies, join'd in wars with thee, he won ? 
Who conquer'd him, and in what fatal strife 250 

The youth, without a wound, could lose his life? 

Neleides then ; Though tardy age, and time, 
Have shrunk my sinews and decay'd my prime ; 
Though much I have forgotten of my store; 
Yet not exhausted, I remember more. 255 

Of all that arms achiev'd, or peace design'd, 
That action still is fresher in my mind 
Than aught beside. If rev'rend age can give 
To faith a sanction, in my third I live. 

'Twas in my second cent'ry, I survey'd 260 

Young Casnis, then a fair Thessalian maid: 
Caenis the bright, was born to high command ; 
A princess, and a native of thy land, 
Divine Achilles ; ev'ry tongue proclaim'd 
Her beauty, and her eyes all hearts inflam'd. 265 

Peleus, thy sire, perhaps had sought her bed, 
Among the rest; but he had either led 

BOOK XII. 309 

Thy mother then, or was by promise tied; 
But she to him, and all, alike her love deny'd. 

It was her fortune once to take her way 270 

Along the sandy margin of the sea : 
The power of ocean view'd her as she pass'd, 
And, lov'd as soon as seen, by force embrac'd. 
So fame reports, Her virgin-treasure seiz'd, 
And his new joys the ravisher so pleased, 275 

That thus transported, to the nymph he cry'd ; 
Ask what thou wilt, no pray'r shall be denied. 
This also fame relates : The haughty fair, 
Who not the rape e'en of a god could bear, 
This answer, proud, return'd : To mighty wrongs 280 
A mighty recompense, of right, belongs. 
Give me no more to suffer such a shame; 
But change the woman for a better name ; 
One gift for all. She said ; and while she spoke, 
A stem, majestic, manly tone she took. 285 

A man she was ; and as the godhead swore, 
To Caeneus turn'd, who Csenis was before. 

To this the lover adds, without request, 
No force of steel should violate his breast. 
Glad of the gift, the new-made warrior goes; 290 

And arms among the Greeks, and longs for equal foes. 

Now brave Perithetis, bold Ixion's son, 
The love of fair Hippodame had won. 
The cloud-begotten race, half men, half beast, 
Invited, came to grace the nuptial feast : 295 

In a cool cave's recess the treat was made, [shade. 
Whose entrance, trees, with spreading boughs, o'er- 
They sat ; and summon'd by the bridegroom, came, 
To mix with those, the Lapythaean name : 
Nor wanted I: The roofs with joy resound : 300 

And Hymen, lb Hymen, rung around. 
Rais'd altars shone with holy fires; the bride, 
Lovely herself (and lovely by her side 
A bevy of bright nymphs, with sober grace), 
Came glitt'ring like a star, and took her place. 305 
Her heav'nly form beheld, all wish'd her joy; [ploy. 
And little wanted, but in vain, their wishes all em- 

For one, most brutal of the brutal brood, 


Or whether wine or beauty fir'd his blood, 

Or both at once., beheld with lustful eyes 310 

The bride : at once resolv'd to make his prize. 

Down went the board ; and fast'ning on her hair, 

He seiz'd, with sudden force, the frighted fair. 

'Twas Eury tus began ; his bestial kind 

His crime pursu'd ; and each as pleas'd his mind, 315 

Or her, whom chance presented, took : The feast 

An image of a taken town express'd. 

The cave resounds with female shrieks ; we rise, 
Mad with revenge, to make a swift reprise : 
,\nd Theseus first : What phrensy has possest, 320 
O Eurytus (he cry'd), thy brutal breast, 
To wrong Perithoiis, and not him alone, 
But while I live, two friends conjoin'd in one? 

To justify his threat, he thrusts aside 
The crowd of centaurs, and redeems the bride : 325 
The monster nought reply'd : For words were vain, 
And deeds could only deeds unjust maintain : 
But answers with his hand ; and forward press'd, 
With blows redoubled, on his face and breast. 
An ample goblet stood, of antic mould, 331) 

And rough with figures of the rising gold ; 
The hero snatch'd it up, and toss'd in air 
Full at the front of the foul ravisher. 
He falls ; and, falling, vomits forth a flood 3.J4 

Of wine, and foam, and brains, and mingled blood. 
Half roaring and half neighing through the hall, 
Arms, arms ! the double-form'd with fury call: 
To wreak their brother's death : A medley-flight 
Of bowls, and jars, at first supply the fight, 
Once instruments of feasts, but now of fate ; 340 

Wine animates their rage, and arms their hate. 

Bold Amycus, from the robb'd vestry brings 
The chalices of heav'n ; and holy things 
Of precious weight : A sconce, that hung on high, 
With tapers fill'd, to light the sacristy, MS 

Torn from the cord, with his unhallow'd hand 
He threw arnid the Lapythaean band. 
On Celadon the ruin fell; and left 
His face of feature and of form bereft: 
So, when some brawny sacrificer knocks, 9SQ 

BOOK XII. 311 

Before an altar led, an offer'd ox, 

His eye-balls rooted out, are thrown to ground ; 

His nose, dismantled, in his mouth is found ; 

His jaws, cheeks, front, one undistinguish'd wound. 

This, Belates, th' avenger, could not brook; 355 
But, by the foot, a maple board he took; 
And hurl'd at Amycus ; his chin it bent 
Against his chest, and down the centaur sent : 
Whom, sputt'ring bloody teeth, the second blow 
Of his drawn sword, dispatch'd to shades below. 360 

Grineus was near ; and cast a furious look 
On the side altar, cens'd with sacred smoke, 
And bright with flaming fires : The gods (he cry'd), 
Have with their holy trade our hands supplied : 364 
Why use we not their gifts ? — Then from the floor 
An altar stone he heav'd, with all the load it bore : 
Altar, and altar's freight, together flew, 
Where thickest throng'd the Lapythaean crew ; 
And, at once, Broteas, and Oryus slew. 
Oryus' mother, Mycale, was known 370 

Down from her sphere to draw the lab'ring moon. 
Exadius cry'd ; Unpunish'd shall not go 
This fact, if arms are found against the foe. 
He look'd about, where on a pine were spread 
The votive horns of a stag's branching head : 375 

At Grineus those he throws; so just they fly, 
That the sharp antlers stuck in either eye : 
Breathless and blind he fell ; with blood besmear'd 
His eye-balls beaten out, hung dangling on his beard. 
Fierce Rhastus, from the hearth a burning brand 380 
Selects, and whirling, waves; till, from his hand 
The fire took flame : then dash'd it from the right, 
On fair Charaxus' temples, near the sight : 
The whistliug pest came on, and pierc'd the bone, 
And caught the yellow hair, that shrivell'd while it 

shone. 385 

Caught, like dry stubble fir'd ; or like seer-wood, 
Yet from the wound ensu'd no purple flood ; 
But look'd a bubbling mass, of frying blood. 
His blazing locks sent forth a crackling sound ; 
And hiss' red-hot ir'n within the smithy droAvn'd. 
The wounded warrior shook his flaming hair, 391 


Then (what a team of horse could hardly rear) 

He heaves the threshold-stone ; but could not throw ; 

The weight itself forbade the threaten'd blow; 

Which, dropping from his lifted arms, came down 

Full on Cometes' head; and crush'd his crown. 396 

Nor Rhaetus then retain'd his joy ; but said, 

So by their fellows may our foes be sped ! 

Then with redoubled strokes he plies his head : 

The burning lever not deludes his pains: 400 

But drives the batter 'd skull within the brains. 

Thus flush'd, the conqueror, with force renew'd ; 
Evagrus, Dyras, Corythus, pursu'd: 
First, Corythus, with downy cheeks, he slew ; 
Whose fall, when fierce Evagrus had in view, 405 
He cry'd, What palm is from a beardless prey? 
Rhaetus prevents what more he had to say, 
And drove within his mouth the fiery death ; 
Which enter'd hissing in, and chok'd hi3 breath. 
At Dryas next he flew : But weary chance, 410 

No longer would the same success advance. 
For while he whirl'd in fiery circles round 
The brand, a sharpen'd stake strong Dryas found : 
And in the shoulder's joint inflicts the wound. 
The weapon stuck, which, roaring out with pain, 415 
He drew; nor longer durst the fight maintain, 
But turn'd his back for fear, and fled amain. 
With him fled Orneus, with like dread possest; 
Thaumas, and Medon wounded in the breast ; 
And Mermeros, in the late race renown'd, 420 

Now limping ran, and tardy with his wound. 
Pholus, and Melaneus from fight withdrew, 
And Abas, maim'd, who boars encount'ring slew : 
And augur Astylos, whose art in vain, 
From fight dissuaded the four-footed train ; 425 

Now beat the hoof with Nessus on the plain ; 
But to his fellow cry'd, Be safely slow, 
Thy death deferr'd is due to great Alcides' bow. 

Meantime, strong Dryas urg'd his chance so well, 
That Lycidas, Areos, Imbreus fell : 430 

All, one by one, and fighting face to face : 
Crenseus fled, to fall with more disgrace ; 
For, fearful, while he look'd behind, he bore 

BOOK XII. 313 

Betwixt his nose and front, the blow before. 

Amid the noise and tumult of the fray, 435 

Snoring, and drunk with wine, Aphidas lay. 

E'en then the bowl within his hand he kept, 

And on a bear's rough hide securely slept. 

Him Phorbas with his flying dart transfix'd ; — 

Take thy next draught, with Stygian waters mix'd, 

And sleep thy fill (th' insulting victor cry'd) : 441 

Surpris'd with death unfelt, the centaur dy'd: 

The ruddy vomit, as he breath'd his soul, 

Repass'd his throat, and fill'd his empty bowl. 

I saw Petraus' arms employ'd around 445 

A well-grown oak, to root it from the ground. 

This way, and that, he wrench'd the fibrous bands ; 

The trunk was like a sapling in his hands, 

And still obey'd the bent ; while thus he stood, 

Perithbus' dart drove on, and nail'd him to the wood : 

Lycus, and Chromis fell, by him opprest: 451 

Helops, and Dictis added to the rest 

A nobler palm : Helops, through either ear 

Transfix'd, receiv'd the penetrating spear. 

This Dictis saw ; and, seiz'd with sudden fright, 455 

Leapt headlong from the hill of steepy height ; 

And crush'd an ash beneath, that could not bear his 

The shatter'd tree receives his fall; and strikes, 
Within his full-blown paunch, the sharpen'd spikes. 
Strong Aphareus had heav'd a mighty stone, 460 

The fragment of a rock ; and would have thrown, 
But Theseus, with a club of harden'd oak, 
The cubit bone of the bold centaur broke, 
And left him maim'd ; nor seconded the stroke. 
Then leap'd on tall Bianor's back (who bore 465 

No mortal burthen but his own, before) ; 
Press'd with his knees his sides ; the double man, 
His speed with spurs increas'd, unwilling ran. 
One hand the hero fasten'd on his locks ; 
His other ply'd him with repeated strokes. 470 

The club rung round his ears, and batter'd brows; 
He falls; and lashing up his heels, his rider throws. 

The same Herculean arms, Medymnus wound; 
And lays by him Lycotas on the ground. 


And Hyppasus, whose beard his breast invades ; 475 
And Ripheus, haunter of the woodland shades : 
And Tereus, us'd with mountain-bears to strive ; 
And from their dens to draw the indignant beasts 
Demoleon could not bear this hateful sight, [alive. 
Or the long fortune of th' Athenian knight: 480 

But pull'd with all his force, to disengage 
From earth a pine, the product of an age : 
The root stuck fast : the broken trunk he sent 
At Theseus : Theseus frustrates his intent, 
And leaps aside; by Pallas warn'd the blow 485 

To shun (for so he said ; and we believ'd it so) : 
Yet not in vain th' enormous weight was cast ; 
Which Crantor's body sunder'd at the waist: 
Thy father's squire, Achilles, and his care ; 
Whom conquer'd in the Dolopeian war, 490 

Their king, his present ruin to prevent, 
A pledge of peace imnlcr'd to Peleus sent. 

Thy sire, with grieving eyes, beheld his fate; 
And cry'd, Not long, lov'd Crantor, shalt thou wait 
Thy vow'd revenge. At once he said, and threw 495 
His ashen spear ; which quiver'd as it flew ; 
With all his force, and all his soul apply'd ; 
The sharp point enter'd in the centaur's side : 
Both hands to wrench it out the monster join'd ; 
And wrench'd it out, but left the steel behind ; 50(» 
Stuck in his lungs it stood ; enrag'd he rears 
His hoofs, and down to ground thy father bears. 
Thus trampled under foot, his shield defends 
His head ; bis other hand the lance portends. 
E'en while he lay extended on the dust, 5u5 

He sped the centaur, with one single thrust. 
Two more his lance before transnx'd from far ; 
And two, his sword had slain, in closer war. 
To these was added Dorylas, who spread 
A bull's two goring horns around his head. 510 

With these he push'd : In blood already dy'd, 
Him fearless I approach'd, and thus defy'd ; 
Now, monster, now, by proof it shall appear, 
Whether thy horns are sharper, or my spear. 
At this, I threw ; for want of other ward, 515 

BOOK XII. 315 

He lifted up his hand, his front to guard. 
His hand it pass'd, and fix'd it to his brow : 
Loud shouts of ours attend the lucky blow. 
Him Peleus finished, with a second wound, 510 

Which through the navel pierc'd ; he reel'd around ; 
And dragg'd his dangling bowels on the ground. 
Trod what he dragg'd ; and what he trod he crush'd: 
And to his mother-earth, with empty belly, rush'd. 

Nor could thy form, Cyllarus, foreshew 
Thy fate (if form to monsters men allow) : 525 

Just bloom'd thy beard ; thy beard of golden hue ; 
Thy locks, in golden waves about thy shoulders flew. 
Sprightly thy look: Thy shapes in ev'ry part 
So clean, as might instruct the sculptor's art ; 
As far as man extended : Where began 530 

The beast, the beast was equal to the man. 
Add but a horse's head and neck ; and he, 
O Castor, was a courser worthy thee. 
So was his back proportion'd for the seat; 
So rose his brawny chest ; so swiftly mov'd his feet. 
Coal-black his colour, but like jet it shone ; 536 

His legs and flowing tail were white alone. 
Belov'd by many maidens of his kind, 
But fair Hylonome possess'd his mind ; 
Hylonome, for features, and for face, 540 

Excelling all the nymphs of double race : 
Nor less her blandishments, than beauty, move : 
At once both loving, and confessing love. 
For him she dress'd ; for him with female care, 
She combed, and set in curls, her auburn hair. 545 
Of roses, violets, and lilies mix'd, 
And sprigs of flowing rosemary betwixt, 
She form'd the chaplet, that adorn'd her front : 
In waters of the Pegassean fount, 
And in the streams that from the fountain play, 550 
She wash'd her face ; and bath'd her twice a day. 
The scarf of furs, that hung below her side, 
Was ermine, or the panther's spotted pride ; 
Spoils of no common beasts. With equal flame 
They lov'd : their sylvan pleasures were the same : 
All day they hunted ; and when day expir'd, 556 

Together to some shady cave retir'd: 


Invited to the nuptials both repair, 

And, side by side, they both eDgage in war. 

Uncertain from what hand, a flying dart 560 

At Cyllarus was sent ; which pierc'd his heart. 
The jav'lin drawn from out the mortal wound, 
He faints with stagg'ring steps, and seeks the ground : 
The fair within her arms receiv'd his fall, 
And strove his wand'ring spirits to recal : 565 

And while her hand the streaming blood opposed, 
Join'd face to face, his lips with hers she clos'd. 
Stifled with kisses, a sweet death he dies ; 
She fills the fields with undistinguish'd cries: 
At least her words were in her clamour drown'd ; 570 
For my stunn'd ears receiv'd no vocal sound. 
In madness of her grief, she seiz'd the dart, 
New-drawn, and reeking from her lover's heart; 
To her bare bosom the sharp point apply'd; 
And wounded fell ; and, falling by his side, 575 

Embrac'd him in her arms ; and, thus embracing, 

E'en still methinks I see Phaeocomes; 
Strange was his habit, and as odd his dress: 
Six lions' hides, with thongs together fast, 
His upper part defended to his waist: 580 

And where man ended, the continu'd vest, 
Spread on his back, the house and trappings of a beast. 
A stump too heavy for a team to draw 
(It seems a fable, though the fact I saw), 
He threw at Pholon ; the descending blow 585 

Divides the skull, and cleaves his head in two. 
The brains from nose, and mouth, and either ear, 
Came issuing out, as through a colander 
The curdled milk; or from the press the whey, 
Driv'n down by weights above, is drain'd away. 590 

But him, while stooping down to spoil the slain, 
Pierc'd through the paunch, I tumbled on the plain. 
Then Chthonyus, and Telebbas I slew : 
A fork the former arm'd ; a dart his fellow threw : 
The jav'lin wounded me (behold the scar); 595 

Then was my time to seek the Trojan war; 
Then I was Hector's match in open field; 
But he was then unborn ; at least a child : 
Now, I am nothing. I forbear to tell 

BOOK XII. 317 

By Periphantas how Pyretus fell; 600 

The centaur by the knight : nor will I stay 
On Amphix, or what deaths he dealt that day : 
What honour, with a pointless lance he won, 
Stuck in the front of a four-footed man : 
What fame young Macareus obtain'd in fight: 605 
Or dwell on Nessus, now return'd from flight: 
How prophet Mopsus, not alone divin'd, 
Whose valour equall'd his foreseeing mind. 

Already Cameus with his conqu'ring hand 
Had slaughter'd five, the boldest of their band ; 610 
Pyrachmus, Helymus, Antimachus, 
Bromus the brave, and stronger Stiphelus. 
Their names I number'd, and remember well, 
No trace remaining, by what wounds they fell. 

Laitreus, the bulkiest of the double race, 615 

Whom the spoil'd arms of slain Halesus grace, 
In years retaining still his youthful might, 
Though his black hairs were interspers'd with white, 
Betwixt th' embattled ranks began to prance, 
Proud of his helm, and Macedonian lance : 620 

And rode the ring around ; that either host 
Might hear him, while he made this empty boast: 
And from a strumpet shall we suffer shame, 
For Csenis still, not Cameus is thy name 1 
And still the native softness of thy kind 625 

Prevails; and leaves the woman in thy mind ; 
Remember what thou wert; what price was paid 
To change thy sex ; to make thee not a maid ; 
And but a man in show : Go, card and spin ; 
And leave the business of the war to men. 630 

While thus the boaster exercis'd his pride, 
The fatal spear of Caeneus reach'd his side : 
Ju3t in the mixture of the kinds it ran ; 
Betwixt the nether beast and upper man : 
The monster mad with rage, and stung with smart, 
His lance directed at the hero's heart : 636 

It struck ; but bounded from his harden'd breast, 
Like hail from tiles, which the safe house invest; 
Nor seem'd the stroke with more effect to come, 
Than a small pebble falling on a drum. 640 


He next his falchion try'd, in closer fight ; 

But the keen falchion had no pow'r to bite. 

He thrust: the blunted point return'd again. 

Since downright blows (he cried), and thrusts are vain , 

I'll prove his side. In strong embraces held, 645 

He prov'd his side; his side the sword repell'd; 

His hollow belly echo'd to the stroke, 

Untouch' d his body as a solid rock; 

Aim'd at his neck at last, the blade in shivers broke. 

Th' impassive knight stood idle, to deride 650 

His rage, and offer'd oft his naked side ; 
At length, Now, monster, in thy turn (he cried), 
Try thou the strength of Cseneus. At the word, 
He thrust; and in his shoulder plung'd the sword. 
Then writh'd his hand : and as he drove it down, 655 
Deep in his breast, made many wounds in one. 

The centaurs saw, enrag'd, th' unhop'd success ; 
And rushing on, in crowds together press. 
At him, and him alone, their darts they threw; 
Repuls'd, they from his fated body flew. 660 

Amaz'd they stood; till Monichus began: 
O shame ! a nation couquer'd by a man ! 
A woman-man ! yet more a man is he 
Than all our race ; and what he was, are we. 
Now, what avail our nerves? th' united force 665 
Of two the strongest creatures, man and horse; 
Nor goddess-born ; nor of Ixion's seed 
We seem (a lover built for Juno's bed), 
Master'd by this half-man. Whole mountains throw 
With woods at once, and bury him below. 670 

This only way remains. Nor need we doubt 
To choke the soul within, though not to force it out : 
Heap weights instead of wounds. — He chanc'd to see 
Where southern storms had rooted up a tree ; 
This, rais'd from earth, against the foe he threw; 675 
Th' example shewn, his fellow brutes puraue : 
With forest-loads the warrior they invade ; 
Othrys and Pelion soon were void of shade; 
And spreading groves were naked mountains made. 
Prest with the burthen, Ca;neus pants for breath ; 680 
And on his shoulders bears the wooden death. 
To heave th' intolerable weight he tries ; 


At length it rose above his mouth and eyes; 

Yet still he heaves ; and struggling with despair, 

Shakes all aside, and gains a gulp of air : 685 

A short relief, which but prolongs his pain : 

He faints by lits ; and then respires again ; 

At last, the burthen only nods above, 

As when an earthquake stirs th' Idaean grove. 

Doubtful his death : he suffocated seem'd, 690 

To most: but otherwise our Mopsus deem'd, 

Who said he saw a yellow bird arise 

From out the piles, and cleave the liquid skies : 

I saw it too, with golden feathers bright; 

Nor e'er before beheld so strange a sight. 695 

Whom Mopsus viewing, as it soar'd around 

Our troop, and heard the pinions' rattling sound, 

All hail (he cry'd), thy country's grace and love, 

Once first of men below, now first of birds above ! 

Its author to the story gave belief; 700 

For us, our courage was increas'd by grief: 

Asham'd to see a single man, pursu'd 

With odds, to sink beneath a multitude, 

We push'd the foe, and, forc'd to shameful flight, 

Part fell, and part escap'd by favour of the night. 705 

This tale, by Nestor told, did much displease 
Tlepolemus, the seed of Hercules: 
For often he had heard his father say, 
That he himself was present at the fray; 
And more than shar'dthe glories of the day. 710 

Old Chronicle (he said), among the rest, 
You might have nam'd Alcides at the least: 
Is he not worth your praise? The Pylian prince 
Sigh'd ere he spoke ; then made this proud defence : 
My former woes in long oblivion drown'd, 715 

I would have lost ; but you renew the wound; 
Better to pass him o'er, than to relate 
The cause I have your mighty sire to hate. 
His fame has fill'd the world, and reach'd the sky ; 
(Which, oh, I wish, with truth, I could deny!) 720 
We praise not Hector; though his name we know 
Is great in arms; 'tis hard to praise a foe. 

He, your great father, levell'd to the ground 
Messenia's tow'rs : nor better fortune found 


Elis, and Pylos ; that a neighb'ring state, 725 

And this my own; both guiltless of their fate. 

To pass the rest, twelve wanting one he slew ; 
My brethren, who their birth from Neleus drew, 
All youths of early promise, had they liv'd; 
By him they perish'd : I alone surviv'd. 730 

The rest were easy conquest; but the fate 
Of Periclymenos, is wondrous to relate ; 
To him, our common grandsire of the main [again. 
Had giv'n to change his form, and chang'd, resume 
Varied at pleasure, ev'ry shape he try'd; 735 

And in all beasts, Alcides still defy'd; 
Vanquish'd on earth, at length he soar'd above : 
Chang'd to a bird, that bears the bolt of Jove: 
The new-dissembled eagle, now endu'd 
With beak, and pounces, Hercules pursu'd, 740 

And cuff'd his manly cheeks, and tore his face; 
Then, safe retir'd, and tow'r'd in empty space. 
Alcides bore not long his flying foe ; 
But bending his inevitable bow, 

Reach'd him in air, suspended as he stood; 745 

And in his pinion fix'd the feather' d wood. 
Light was the wound ; but in the sinew hung 
The point, and his disabled wing unstrung. 
He wheel'd in air, and stretch'd his vans in vain ; 
His vans no longer could his flight sustain : 750 

For while one gather'd wind, one unsupplied 
Hung drooping down, nor pois'd his other side. 
He fell : The shaft that slightly was imprest, 
Now from his heavy fall with weight increas'd, 
Drove through his neck, aslant ; he spurns the ground, 
And the soul issues through the weazon's wound. 75G 

Now, brave commander of the Rhodian seas, 
What praise is due from me to Hercules 1 
Silence is all the vengeance I decree 
For my slain brothers : but 'tis peace with thee. 760 

Thus with a flowing tongue old Nestor spoke ; 
Then, to full bowls each other they provoke : 
At length, with weariness and wine opprest, 
They rise from table, and withdraw to rest. 

BOOK XII. 321 

The sire of Cygnus, monarch of the main, 765 

Meantime, laments his son in battle slain, 
And vows the victor's death; nor vows in vain. 
For nine long years the smother'd pain he bore 
(Achilles was not ripe for fate before): 
Then when he saw the promis'd hour was near, 770 
He thus bespoke the god that guides the year: 
Immortal offspring of my brother Jove; 
My brightest nephew, and whom best I love; 
Whose hands were join'd with mine, to raise the wall 
Of tott'ring Troy, now nodding to her fall, 775 

Dost thou not mourn our pow'r employ'd in vain, 
And the defenders of our city slain ? 
To pass the rest, could noble H ector lie 
Unpitied, dragg'd around his native Troy 1 
And yet the murd'rer lives: himself by far 780 

A greater plague, than all the wasteful war: 
He lives; the proud P elides lives to boast 
Our town dnstroy'd, our common labour lost. 
O, could I meet him ! But I wish too late: 
To prove my trident is not in his fate ! 785 

But let him try (for that's allow'd) thy dart, 
And pierce his only penetrable part. 

Apollo bows to the superior throne : 
And to his uncle's anger adds his own. 
Then in a cloud involv'd he takes his flight, 790 

Where Greeks and Trojans, mix'd in mortal fight; 
And found out Paris, lurking where he stood, 
And stain'd his arrows with plebeian blood: 
Phcebus to him alone the god confess'd, 
Then to the recreant knight he thus address'd : 795 
Dost not thou blush to spend thy shafts in vain, 
On a degenerate, and ignoble train ? 
If fame, or better vengeance be thy care, 
There aim : And, with one arrow, end the war. 

He said ; and shew'd from far the blazing shield 
And sword, which, but Achilles, nonecould wield ; 801 
And how he mov'd a god, and mow'd the standing 
The deity himself directs aright [field. 

Th' envenom'd shaft, and wings the fatal flight. 

Thus fell the foremost of the Grecian name; 805 
And he, the base adult'rer, boasts the fame. 
P 2 


A spectacle to glad the Trojan train ; 

And please old Priam, after Hector slain. 

If by a female hand he had foreseen 

He was to die, his wish had rather been 810 

The lance, and double axe of the fair warrior queen. 

And now the terror of the Trojan field, 

The Grecian honour, ornament, and shield, 

High on a pile, th' unconquer'd chief is plac'd, 

The god that arm'd him first, consum'd at last. 815 

Of all the mighty man, the small remains, 

A little urn, and scarcely fill'd, contains. 

Yet great in Homer, still Achillas lives ; 

And equal to himself, himself survives. 

His buckler owns its former lord ; and brings 820 
New cause of strife, betwixt contending kings ; 
Who worthiest after him, his sword to wield, 
Or wear his armour, or sustain his shield. 
E'en Diomede sat mute, with downcast eyes : 
Conscious of wanted worth to win the prize : 825 

Nor Menelaus presum'd these arms to claim, 
Nor he the king of men, a greater name. 
Two rivals only rose : Laertes' son, 
And the vast bulk of Ajax Telamon: 
The king, who cherish'd each, with equal love, 830 
And from himself all envy would remove, 
Left both to be determin'd by the laws; 
And to the Grecian chiefs transferr'd the cause. 



The speeches of Ajax and Ulysses- The death of Ajax. The 
story of Polvxena and Hecuba. The funeral of Memnon. The 
voyage of j?Eiieas. The story of Acis, Polyphemus, and Galatea. 
The story of Glaucus and Scylla. 

The chiefs were set; the soldiers crown'd the field: 
To these, the master of the sevenfold shield 
Upstarted fierce; and kindled with disdain, 
Eager to speak, unable to contain 
His boiling rage, he roll'd his eyes around 5 

The shore, and Grecian galleys haul'd aground. 


Then stretching out his hands, O Jove, he cry'd, 

Must then our cause before the fleet be tried? 

And dares Ulysses for the prize contend, 

In sight of what he durst not once defend ? 10 

But basely fled that memorable day, [prey. 

When I from Hector's hands redeem'd the flaming 

So much 'tis safer at the noisy bar 

With words to flourish, than engage in war. 

By diff'rent methods we maintain our right, 15 

Nor am I made to talk, nor he to fight. 

In bloody fields I labour to be great: 

His arms are a smooth tongue and soft deceit : 

Nor need I speak my deeds, for those you see, 

The sun and day are witnesses for me. 20 

Let him who fights unseen, relate his own, 

And vouch the silent stars, and conscious moon. 

Great is the prize demanded, I confess, 

But such an abject rival makes it less; 

That gift, those honours, he but hop'd to gain, 25 

Can leave no room for Ajax to be vain : 

Losing he wins, because his name will be 

Ennobled by defeat, who durst contend with me. 

Were my known valour question'd, yet my blood 

Without that plea would make my title good : 30 

My sire was Telamon, whose arms, employ'd 

With Hercules, these Trojan walls destroy'd; 

And who before with Jason, sent from Greece, 

In the first ship brought home the golden.fleece. 

Great Telamon from iEacus derives 35 

His birth (th' inquisitor of guilty lives 

In shades below ; where Sisyphus, whose son 

This thief is thought, rolls up the restless, heavy stone). 

Just iEacus, the king of gods above 

Begot: Thus Ajax is the third from Jove. 40 

Nor should I seek advantage from my line, 

Unless (Achilles) it were mix'd with thine : 

As next of kin, Achilles' arms I claim; 

This fellow would ingraft a foreign name 

Upon our stock, and the Sisyphian seed 45 

By fraud and theft asserts his father's breed : 

Then must I lose these arms, because I came 

To fight uncall'd a voluntary name, 


Nor shunn'd the cause, but offer'd you my aid, 

While he, long lurking, was to war betray'd: 50 

Forc'd to the field he came, but in the rear ; 

And feign'd distraction, to conceal his fear : 

Till one more cunning, caught him in the snare 

(111 for himself); and dragg'd him into war. 

Now let a hero's arms a coward vest, 55 

And he who shunn'd all honours, gain the best : 

And let me stand excluded from my right, 

Robb'd of my kinsman's arms, who first appear'd in 

Better for us, at home had he remain'd, [fight. 

Had it been true the madness which he feign'd, 60 

Or so believ'd; the less had been our shame, 

The less his counsell'd crime, which brands the 

Grecian name ; 
Nor Philoctetes had been left inclos'd 
In a bare isle, to wants and pains expos'd, 
Where to the rocks, with solitary groans, 65 

His sufferings and our baseness he bemoans : 
And wishes (so may Heav'n his wish fulfil) 
The due reward to him who caus'd his ill. 
Now he with us to Troy's destruction sworn, 
Our brother of the war, by whom are borne 70 

Alcides' arrows, pent in narrow bounds, 
With cold andhungerpinch'd,andpain'd with wounds, 
To find him food and clothing, must employ 
Against the birds, the shafts due to the fate of Troy. 
Yet still he lives, and lives from treason free, 75 

Because he left Ulysses' company : 
Poor Palamede might wish, so void of aid, 
Rather to have been left, than so to death betray'd. 
The coward bore the man immortal spite, 
Who sham'd him out of madness into fight: 80 

Nor daring otherwise to vent his hate, 
Accus'd him first of treason to the state ; 
And then, for proof, produc'd the golden store, 
Himself had hidden in his tent before : 
Thus of two champions he depriv'd out host, 85 

By exile one, and one by treason lost. 
Thus fights Ulysses, thus his fame extends, 
A formidable man, but to his friends: 
Great, for what greatness is in words and sound.. 


E'en faithful Nestor less in both is found : 90 

But that he might without a rival reign, 

He left his faithful Nestor on the plain; 

Forsook his friend, e'en at his utmost need, 

Who, tir'd and tardy with his wounded steed, 

Cried out for aid, and call'd him by his name : 95 

But cowardice has neither ears nor shame : 

Thus fled the good old man, bereft of aid, 

And, for as much as lay in him, betray'd; 

That this is not a fable forg'd by me, 

Like one of his, an Ulyssean lie, 100 

I vouch e'en Diomede, who, though his friend, 

Cannot that act excuse, much less defend ; 

He calVd him back aloud, and tax'd his fear ; 

And sure enough he heard, but durst not hear. 

The gods with equal eyes on mortals look, 105 

He justly was forsaken, who forsook : 
Wanted that succour he refus'd to lend, 
Found ev'ry fellow such another friend: 
No wonder if he roar'd that all might hear ; 
His elocution was increas'd by fear. 110 

I heard, I ran, I found him out of breath, 
Pale, trembling, and half dead with fear of death. 
Though he had judg'd himself by his own laws, 
And stood condemn'd, I help'd the common cause : 
With my broad buckler hid him from the foe 115 
(E'en the shield trembled as he lay below), 
And from impending fate the coward freed; 
Good heaven forgive me for so bad a deed ! 
If still he will persist, and urge the strife, 
First let him give me back his forfeit life : 120 

Let him return to that opprobrious field; 
Again creep under my protecting shield: 
Let him lie wounded, let the foe be near, 
And let his quiv'ring heart confess his fear ; 
There put him in the very jaws of fate ; 12j 

And let him plead his cause in that estate : 
And yet, when snatch'd from death, when from 

My lifted shield I loos'd, and let him go ; 
Good heav'nsl how light he rose, with what a bound 
He sprung from earth, forgetful of his wound; 130 


How fresh, how eager then his feet to ply' 
mo had not strength to stand, had spe^d 'to fly- 
Hector came on, and brought the gods aW ' 
Fear sexz'd a ,i ke the feeble and the TrX ° g> 

ESfe^CM^** i4o 

AH eyes were fix'd on me : the lots wfr 'thrown - 
But ior your champion I was wish'd alone • 

YeTi leZ^ Ie h6drd ; - W , e fou S ht ' and ^itber yield • 
Yet I return d unvanquish'd from the field. ' 

With Jove to friend, th> insulting Trojan came 14. 

Was r t h a e C ? " T^ V° rCe ' ° Ur fl -t J whh7a e me. ™ 
In th t S! fr S ° f thiS t0n g ue -^liant lord, 
In that black hour, that sav'd you from the sword ? 
Or was my breast expos'd alone to brave 
A thousand swords, a thousand ships to save t 150 
The hopes of your return ! and can you yield ' 

Th7ntT d f et ' IeSS than a -^eshiefd? ' 
Think it no boast, O Grecians, if I deem 

OrTwSh S r nt AJaX ' m ° re than A J a * them; 

Or, I with them an equal honour share ; 155 

They honour'd to be worn, and I to wear. 

A?li^ COmpare my C ° Urase with his height? 

As wel he may compare the day with night. 

Nigh tu .indeed the province of his reign: 

Yet all h 13 dark exploits no more contain 160 

Than a spy taken, and a sleeper slain- 

A priest made pris'ner, Pallas made a prey • 

But none of all these actions done by day' 

Nor aught of these was done, and Diomede away. 

If on such petty merits you confer im 

So vast a prize, let each his portion share ; 

Make a just dividend; and if not all 

1 he greater part to Diomede will fall 

But why for Ithacus such arms as tho'se, 

Who naked, and by night, invades his foes ? 170 

The l g aten? ng HK elm by m °° nligLt wiU P- Cl aim 
I he latent robber, and prevent his game : 


Nor could he hold his tott'ring head upright, 

Beneath that morion, or sustain the weight ; 

Nor that right arm could toss the beamy lance : 175 

Much less the left that ampler shield advance ; 

Pond'rous with precious weight, and rough with cost 

Of the round world in rising gold emboss 'd. 

That orb would ill become his hand to wield, 

And look as for the gold he stole the shield; 180 

Which, should your error on the wretch bestow, 

It would not frighten, but allure the foe ; 

Why asks he, what avails him not in fight, 

And would but cumber and retard his flight, 

In which his holy excellence is plac'd? 185 

You give him death, that intercept his haste. 

Add, that his own is yet a maiden-shield, 

Nor the least dint has suffer'd in the field, 

Guiltless of fight: mine, batter'd, hew'd, and bor'd, 

Worn out of service, must forsake his lord. 190 

What farther need of words our right to scan 1 

My arguments are deeds, let action speak the man. 

Since from a champion's arms the strife arose, 

So cast the glorious prize amid the foes ; 

Then send us to redeem both arms and shield, 195 

And let him wear, who wins 'em in the field. 

He said: A murmur from a multitude, 
Or somewhat like a stifled shout ensu'd : 
Till from his seat arose Laertes' son , 
Look'd down awhile, and paus'd ere he begun ; 200 
Then to th' expecting audience rais'd his look, 
And not without prepar'd attention spoke: 
Soft was his tone, and sober was his face ; 
Action his words, and words his action grace. 

If Heav'n, my lords, had heard our common pray'r, 
These arms had caus'd no quarrel for an heir ; 206 
Still great Achilles had his own possest, 
And we with great Achilles had been blest; 
But since hard fate, and Heav'n's severe decree, 
Have ravish 'd him away from you aud me 210 

(At this he sigh'd, and wip'd his eyes, and drew, 
Or seem'd to draw, some drops of kindly dew), 
Who better can succeed Achilles lost, 
Than he who gave Achilles to your host? 


This only I request, that neither he 215 

May gain, hy heing what he seems to be, 

A stupid thing; nor I may lose the prize, 

By haying sense, which Heav'n to him denies : 

Since, great or small, the talent I enjoy'd 

Was ever in the common cause employ 'd. 220 

Nor let my wit, and wonted eloquence, 

Which often has been us'd in your defence, 

And in my own, this only time be brought 

To bear against myself, and deem'd a fault. 

Make not a crime, where nature made it none : 225 

For ev'ry man may freely use his own. 

The deeds of long descended ancestors 

Are but by grace of imputation ours, 

Theirs in effect : but since he draws his line 

From Jove, and seems to plead a right divine; 230 

From Jove, like him, I claim my pedigree, 

And am descended in the same degree; 

My sire Laertes was Arcesius' heir, 

Arcesius was the son of Jupiter: 

No parricide, no banish'd man, is known 235 

In all my line: Let him excuse his own. 

Hermes ennobles too my mother's side, 

By both my parents to the gods allied: 

But not because that on the female part 

My blood is better dare I claim desert, 24ft 

Or that my sire from parricide is free ; 

But judge by merit, betwixt him and me : 

The prize be to the best: provided yet 

That Ajax for awhile his kin forget, 

And his great sire, and greater uncle's name, 245 

To fortify by them his feeble claim : 

Be kindred and relation laid aside, 

And honour's cause by laws of honour tried: 

For if he plead proximity of blood, 

That empty title is with ease withstood. 250 

Peleus, the hero's sire, more nigh than he, 

And Pyrrhus, his undoubted progeny, 

Inherit first these trophies of the field ; 

To Scyros, or to Pthia, send the shield : 

And Teucer has an uncle's right ; yet he 255 

Waves his pretensions, nor contends with me. 


Then since the cause on pure desert is plac'd, 
Whence shall I take my rise, what reckon last? 
I not presume on ev'ry act to dwell, 
But take these few, in order as they fell. 260 

Thetis, who knew the fates, apply'd her care 
To keep Achilles in disguise from war; 
And till the threat'ning influence was past, 
A woman's habit on the hero cast : 
All eyes were cozen'd by the borrow'd vest, 265 

And Ajax (never wiser than the rest) 
Found no Pelides there ; at length I came 
With proffer'd wares to this pretended dame ; 
She, not discover'd by her mien, or voice, 
Betray'd her manhood by her manly choice ; 270 

And while on female toys her fellows look, 
Grasp'd in her warlike hand a jav'lin shook : 
Whom, by this act reveal'd, I thus bespoke : 
O goddess-bom! resist not Heav'n's decree, 
The fall of Ilium is reserv'd for thee : 275 

Then seiz'd him, and produc'd in open light, 
Sent blushing to the field the fatal knight. 
Mine then are all his actions of the war; 
Great Telephus was conquer'd by my spear, 
And after cur'd : To me the Thebans owe, 280 

Lesbos, and Tenedos, their overthrow ; 
Scyros and Cylla: Not on all to dwell, 
By me Lyrnesus and strong Chrysa fell; 
And since I sent the man who Hector slew, 
To me the noble Hector's death is due : 285 

Those arms I put into his living hand, 
Those arms, Pelides dead, I now demand. 

When Greece was injur'd in the Spartan prince, 
And met at Aulis to avenge th' offence, 
'Twas a dead calm, or adverse blasts, that reign'd, 290 
And in the port the wind-bound fleet detain'd ; 
Bad signs were seen, and oracles severe 
Were daily thunder'd in our gen'ral's ear; 
That by his daughter's blood we must appease 
Diana's kindled wrath, and free the seas. 295 

Affection, int'rest, fame, his heart assail'd: 
But soon the father o'er the king prevail'd : 


Bold, on himself he took the pious crime, 

As angry with the gods, as they with him. 

No subject could sustain their sov'reign's look, 300 

Till this hard enterprize I undertook: 

I only durst th' imperial pow'r control, 

And undermin'd the parent in his soul; 

Forc'd him t' exert the king for common good, 

And pay our ransom with his daughter's blood. 305 

Never was cause more difficult to plead, 

Than where the judge against himself decreed: 

Yet this I won by dint of argument, 

The wrongs his injur'd brother underwent, 

And his own office sham'd him to consent. 310 

'Twas harder yet to move the mother's mind, 
And to this heavy task was I design'd: 
Reasons against her love I knew were vain ; 
1 circumvented, whom I could not gain : 
Had Ajax been employ'd, our slacken'd sails 315 

Had still at Aulis waited happy gales. 

Arriv'd at Troy, your choice was fix'd on me, 
A fearless envoy, fit for a bold embassy; 
Secure, I enter'd through the hostile court, 
Glitt'ring with steel, and crowded with resort : 320 
There, in the midst of arms, I plead our cause, 
Urge the foul rape, and violated laws ; 
Accuse the foes as authors of the strife, 
Reproach the ravisher, demand the wife. 
Priam, Antenor, and the wiser few, 325 

I mov'd; but Paris, and his lav/less crew, 
Scarce held their hands, and lifted swords; but stood 
In act to quench their impious thirst of blood: 
This, Menelaiis knows; expos'd to share 
With me the rough preludium of the war. 330 

Endless it were to tell what I have done, 
In arms, or council, since the siege begun; 
The first encounter past, the foe repell'd, 
They skulk'd within the town, we kept the field. 
War seem'd asleep for nine long years; at length 335 
Both sides resolv'd to push, we try'd our strength. 
Now, what did Ajax, while our arms took breath, 
Vers'd only in the gross mechanic trade of death? 


If you require my deeds; with ambush 'd arms 

I trapp'd the foe, or tir'd with false alarms ; 340 

Secur'd the ships, drew lines along the plain, 

The fainting cheer'd, chastis'd the rebel-train, 

Provided forage, our spent arms renew'd; [pursu'd. 

Employ'd at home, or sent abroad, the common cause 

The king, deluded in a dream by Jove, 345 

Despair'd to take the town, and order'd to remove. 
What subject durst arraign the pow'r supreme, 
Producing Jove to justify his dream? 
Ajax might wish the soldiers to retain 
From shameful flight, but wishes were in vain : 350 
As wanting of effect has been his words, 
Such as of course his thund'ring tongue affords. 
But did this boaster threaten, did he pray, 
Or by his own example urge their stay ? 
None, none of these, but ran himself away. 355 

I saw him run, and was asham'd to see ; 
Who ply'd his feet so fast to get aboard as he? 
Then speeding through the place, I made a stand, 
And loudly cry'd, O base, degen'rate band, 
To leave a town already in your hand ! 360 

After so long expense of blood, for fame, 
To bring home nothing, but perpetual shame ! 
These words, or what I have forgotten since 
(For grief inspir'd me then with eloquence), 
Reduc'd their minds ; they leave the crowded port, 365 
And to their late-forsaken camp resort : 
Dismay'd, the council met, this man was there, 
But mute, and not recover'd of his fear : 
Thersites tax'd the king, and loudly rail'd, 
But his wide op'ning mouth with blows I seal'd. 370 
Then, rising, I excite their souls to fame, 
And kindle sleeping virtue into flame. 
From thence, whatever he perform'd in fight 
Is justly mine, who drew him back from flight. 

Which of the Grecian chiefs consorts with thee ? 375 
But Diomede desires my company, 
And still communicates his praise with me. 
As guided by a god, secure he goes, 
Arm'd with my fellowship amid the foes ; 
And sure no little merit I may boast, 380 


Whom such a man selects from such an host : 

Unforc'd by lots I went, without affright, 

To dare with him the dangers of the night : 

On the same errand sent, we met the spy 

Of Hector, double -ton gu'd, and us'd to lie; 385 

Him I dispatch'd, but not till undermin'd 

1 drew him first to tell, what treach'rous Troy de- 

My task perform'd, with praise I had retir'd, [sign'd: 

But not content with this, to greater praise aspir'd : 

Invaded Rhesus, and his Thracian crew, 390 

And him, and his, in their own strength I slew. 

Return'd a victor, all my vows complete, 

With the king's chariot, in his royal seat 

Refuse me now his arms, whose fiery steeds 

Were promis'd to the spy for his nocturnal deeds : 395 

Yet let dull Ajax. bear away my right, 

When all his days out-balance this one night. 

Nor fought I darkling still: the sun beheld 
With slaughter'd Lycians when I strew'd the field: 
You saw, and counted as I pass'd along 400 

Alastor, Chromius, Ceranos the strong, 
Alcander, Prytanis, and Halius, 
Nbemon, Charopes, and Ennomus; 
Coon, Chersidamas; and five beside, 
Men of obscure descent, but courage tried ; 405 

All these this hand laid breathless on the ground: 
Nor want I proofs of many a manly wound; 
All honest, all before: Believe not me; 
Words may deceive, but credit what you see. 

At this he bar'd his breast, and shew'd his scars, 
As of a furrow'd field well plough'd with wars; 411 
Nor is this part unexercis'd, said he : 
That giant bulk of his from wounds is free : 
Safe in his shield he fears no foe to try, 
And better manages his blood than 1 : 415 

But thus avails me not ; our boaster strove 
Not with our foes alone, but partial Jove, 
To save the fleet : This, I confess, is true 
( Nor will I take from any man his due) : 
But thus assuming all, he robs from you. 420 

Some part of honour to your share will fall ; 
He did the best indeed, but did not all. 


Patroclus ia Achilles' arms, and thought 
The chief he seem'd, with equal ardour fought ; 
Preserv'd the fleet, repell'd the raging fire, 425 

And forc'd the fearful Trojans to retire. 

But Ajax boasts that he was only thought 
A match for Hector, who the combat sought : 
Sure he forgets the king, the chiefs, and me ; 
All were as eager for the fight as he: 430 

He but the ninth, and not by public voice, 
Or ours preferr'd, was only fortune's choice : 
They fought; nor can our hero boast th' event, 
For Hector from the field un wounded went. 

Why am I forc'd to name that fatal day, 435 

That snatch'd the prop and pride of Greece away ? 
I saw P elides sink, with pious grief, 
And ran in vain, alas ! to his relief: 
For the brave soul was fled : Full of my friend 
I rush'd amidst the war, his relics to defend : 440 

Nor ceas'd my toil, till I redeem'd the prey, 
And loaded with Achilles march'd away: 
Tho3e amis, which on these shoulders then I bore, 
'Tis just you to these shoulders should restore. 
You see I want not nerves, who could sustain 445 
The pond'rous ruins of so great a man : 
Or if in others equal force you find, 
None is endu'd with a more grateful mind. 

Did Thetis then, ambitious in her care, 
These arms thus labour'd for her son prepare, 450 
That Ajax after him the heav'nly gift should wear ! 
For that dull soul to stare, with stupid eyes, 
On the learn'd unintelligible prize ! 
What are to him the sculptures of the shield, 
Heav'n's planets, earth, and ocean's wat'ry field? 455 
The Pleiads, Hyads ; less and greater Bear, 
Undipp'd in seas: Orion's angry star; 
Two dhTring cities, grav'd on either hand ; 
Would he wear arms he cannot understand? 

Beside, what wise objections he prepares 460 

Against my late accession to the wars! 
Does not the fool perceive his argument 
Is with more force against Achilles bent? 
For if dissembling be so great a crime, 


The fault is common, and the same in him : 405 

And if he taxes both of long delay, 

My guilt is less, who sooner came away. 

His pious mother, anxious for his life, 

Detain'd her son, and me, my pious wife. 

To them the blossoms of our youth were due, 470 

Our riper manhood we reserv'd for you. 

But grant me guilty, 'tis not much ray care, 

When with so great a man my guilt I share : 

My wit to war the matchless hero brought, 

But by this fool I never had been caught. 475 

Nor need I wonder, that on me he threw 
Such foul aspersions, when he spares not you : 
If Palamede unjustly fell by me, 
Your honour suffer'd in th' unjust decree : 
I but accus'd, you doom'd: And yet he died, 480 

Convict of treason, and was fairly tried : 
You heard not he was false ; your eyes beheld 
The traitor manifest ; the bribe reveal'd. 

That Philoctetes is on Lemnos left, 
Wounded, forlorn, of human aid bereft, 485 

Is not my crime, or not my crime alone ; 
Defend your justice, for the fact's your own : 
'Tis true, th' advice was mine; that staying there 
He might his weary limbs with rest repair, 
From a long voyage free, and from a longer war. 490 
He took the counsel, and he lives at least; 
Th' event declares I counsell'd for the best; 
Though faith is all in ministers of state ; 
For who can promise to be fortunate ? 
Now, since his arrows are the fate of Troy, 495 

Do not my wit, or weak address employ; 
Send Ajax there, with his persuasive sense, 
To mollify the man, and draw him thence: 
But Xanthus shall run backward ; Ida stand 
A leafless mountain; and the Grecian band 500 

Shall fight for Troy; if, when my counsels fail, 
The wit of heavy Ajax can prevail. 

Hard Philoctetes, exercise thy spleen 
Against thy fellows, and the king of men; 
Curse my devoted head, above the rest, 505 

And wish in arms to meet me breast to breast; 


Yet I the dangerous task will undertake, 
And either die myself, or bring thee back. 

Nor doubt the same success, as when before 
The Phrygian prophet to these tents I bore, 510 

Surpris'd by night, and forc'd him to declare 
In what was plac'd the fortune of the war, 
Heav'n's dark decrees and answers to display, 
And how to take the town, and where the secret lay: 
Yet this I compass'd, and from Troy convey'd 515 
The fatal image of fheir guardian-maid : 
That work was mine, for Pallas, though our friend, 
Yet while she was in Troy, did Troy defend. 
Now what has Ajax done, or what design'd? 
A noisy nothing, and an empty wind. 520 

If he be what he promises in show, 
Why was I sent, and why fear'd he to go? 
Our boasting champion thought the task not light 
To pass the guards, commit himself to night: 
Not only through a hostile town to pass, 525 

But scale, with steep ascent, the sacred place: 
With wand'ring steps to search the citadel, 
And from the priests their patroness to steal ; 
Then through surrounding foes to force my way, 
And bear in triumph home the heav'nly prey ; 530 
Which had I not, Ajax in vain had held, 
Before that monstrous bulk his sev'n-fold shield. 
That night to conquer Troy I might be said, 
When Troy was liable to conquest made. 

Why point'st thou to my partner of the war ? 535 
Tydides had indeed a worthy share 
In all my toil, and praise ; but when thy might 
Oar ships protected, didst thou singly tight? 
All join'd, and thou of many wert but one ; 
I ask'd no friend, nor had, but him alone :' 540 

Who, had he not been well assur'd, that art, 
And conduct, were of war the better part, 
And more avail'd than strength, my valiant friend 
Had urg'd a better right than Ajax can pretend; 
As good at least Euripylus may claim, 545 

And the more mod'rate Ajax of the name : 
The Cretan king, and his brave charioteer, 
And Menelaus bold with sword and spear: 


All these had been my rivals in the shield, 

And yet all these to my pretensions yield. 550 

Thy boist'rous hands are then of use, when I 

With this directing head, those hands apply. 

Brawn without brain is thine : My prudent care 

Foresees, provides, administers the war: 

Thy province is to fight; but when shall be 555 

The time to fight, the king consults with me : 

No dram of judgment with thy force is join 'd; 

Thy body is of profit, and my mind. 

By how much more the ship her safety owes 

To him who steers, than him that only rows, 560 

By how much more the captain merits praise, 

Than he who fights, and fighting but obeys; 

By so much greater is my worth than thine, 

Who canst but execute, what I design. 

What gain'st thou, brutal man, if I confess 565 

Thy strength superior, when thy wit is less? 

Mind is the man ; I claim my whole desert 

From the mind's vigour, and th' immortal part. 

But you, Grecian chiefs, reward my care, 
Be grateful to your watchman of the war: 570 

For all my labours in so long a space 
Sure I may plead a title to your grace : 
Enter the town ; I then unbarr'd the gates, 
When I remov'd their tutelary fates. 
By all our common hopes, if hopes they be, 575 

Which I have now reduc'd to certainty; 
By falling Troy, by yonder tott'ring tow'rs, 
And by their taken gods, which now are ours; 
Or if there yet a farther task remains, 
To be perform'd by prudence, or by pains ; 580 

If yet some desp'rate action rests behind, 
That asks high conduct, and a dauntless mind ; 
If aught be wanting to the Trojan doom, 
Which none but I can manage and o'ercome, 
Award, those arms I ask, by your decree: 585 

Or give to this, what you refuse to me. 

He ceas'd: And ceasing, with respect he bow'd, 
And with his hand at onre the fatal statue shewM. 
Heav'n, air, and ocean rung with loud applause, 
Led by the gen'ral vote, he gaiu'd his cause. 590 


Thus conduct won the prize, when courage fail'd, 
And eloquence o'er brutal force prevail'd. 

He who could often, and alone withstand 
The foe, the fire, and Jove's own partial hand, 
Now cannot his unmaster'd grief sustain, 595 

But yields to rage, to madness, and disdain ; 
Then snatching out his falchion, Thou (said he) 
Art mine ; Ulysses lays no claim to thee. 
O often try'd, and ever-trusty sword, 
Now do thy last kind office to thy lord; GOO 

'Tis Ajax, who requests thy aid, to shew 
None but himself himself could overthrow. 
He said, and with so good a will to die, 
Did to his breast the fatal point apply. 
It found his heart, a way till then unknown 605 

Where never weapon enter'd but his own. 
No hands could force it thence, so fix'd it stood, 
Till out it rush'd, expell'd by streams of spouting 

The fruitful blood produc'd a flow'r, which grew 
On a green stem, and of a purple hue : 610 

Like his, whom, unaware, Apollo slew : 
Inscrib'd in both, the letters are the same, 
But those express the grief, and these the name. 

The victor with full sails for Lemnos stood 
(Once stain 1 by matrons with their husband's blood), 
Thence great Alcides' fatal shafts to bear, 61G 

Assign'd to Philoctetes' secret care. 
These with their guardian to the Greeks convey'd, 
Their ten years' toil with wish'd success repaid. 
With Troy old Priam falls; his queen survives ; 620 
Till all her woes complete, transform'd she grieves 
In borrow'd sounds, nor with a human face, 
Barking tremendous o'er the plains of Thrace. 
Still Ilium's flames their pointed columns raise, 
And the red Hellespont reflects the blaze. 625 

Shed on Jove's altar are the poor remains 
Of blood, which trickled from old Priam's veins. 
Cassandra lifts her hands to heav'n in vain, 
Dragg'd by her sacred hair ; the trembling train 
Of matrons to their burning temples fly: €30 



There to their gods for kind protection cry ; 
And to their statues cling, till forc'd away, 
The victor Greeks bear off th' invidious prey. 
From those high tow'rs Astyanax is thrown, 
Whence he was wont with pleasure to look down, 
When oft his mother, with a fond delight, 630 

Pointed to view his father's rage in fight, 
To win renown, and guard his country's right. 

The winds now call to sea ; brisk northern gales 
Sing in the shrouds, and court the spreading sails. 
Farewell, dear Troy ! the captive matrons cry ; 641 
Yes, we must leave our long-lov'd native sky. 
Then prostrate on the shore they kiss the sand, 
And quit the smoking ruins of the land. 
Last, Hecuba, on board (sad sight!) appears ; 645 

Found weeping o'er her children's sepulchres : 
Dragg'd by Ulysses from her slaughter'd sons, 
Whilst yet she grasp'd their tombs, and kiss'd their 

mould'ring bones. 
Yet Hector's ashes from his urn she bore, 
And in her bosom the sad relic wore : 650 

Then scatter'd on his tomb her hoary hairs, 
A poor oblation, mingled with her tears. 

Oppos'd to Ilium lie the Thracian plains, 
Where Polymestor safe in plenty reigns. 
King Priam to his care commits his son, 655 

Young Polydore, the chance of war to shun. 
A wise precaution ! had not gold consign'd, 
For the child's use, debauch'd the tyrant's mind. 
When sinking Troy to its last period drew, 
With impious hands his royal charge he slew; 660 
Then in the sea his lifeless corse is thrown; 
As with the body he the guilt could drown. 

The Greeks now riding on the Thracian shore, 
Till kinder gales invite, their vessels moor. 
Here the wide op'ning earth to sudden view 665 

Disclos'd Achilles, great as when he drew 
The vital air, but fierce with proud disdain, 
As when he sought Briseis to regain ; 
When stern debate, and rash injurious strife 
Unsheath'd his sword, to reach Atrides' life. 670 


And will ye go? he said. Is then the name 

Of the once great Achilles lost to fame? 

Yet stay, ungrateful Greeks; nor let me sue 

In vain for honours to my manes due. 

For this just end, Polyxena I doom 675 

With victim rites to grace my slighted tomh. 

The phantom spoke ; the ready Greeks obey'd, 
And to the tomb led the devoted maid, 
Snatch'd from her mother, who with pious care 
Cherish'd this last relief of her despair. 680 

Superior to her sex, the fearless maid 
Approach'd the altar, and around survey'd 
The cruel rites, and consecrated knife, 
Which Pyrrhus pointed at her guiltless life ; 
Then as with stern amaze intent he stood, 685 

Now strike (she said), now spill my gen'rous blood; 
Deep in my breast, or throat, your dagger sheath, 
While thus I stand prepar'd to meet my death; 
For life on terms of slav'ry I despise : 
Yet sure no god approves this sacrifice. 690 

O, could I but conceal this dire event, 
From my sad mother, I should die content ! 
Yet should she not with tears my death deplore, 
Since her own wretched life demands them more. 
But let not the rude touch of man pollute 695 

A virgin victim ; 'tis a modest suit : 
It best will please whoe'er demands my blood, 
That I untainted reach the Stygian flood. 
Yet let one short, last, dying pray'r be heard ; 
To Priam's daughter pay this last regard; 700 

'Tis Priam's daughter, not a captive sues ; 
Do not the rites of sepulture refuse. 
T© my afflicted mother, I implore, 
Free without ransom my dead corse restore : 
Nor barter me for gain when I am cold ; 705 

But be her tears the price if I am sold : 
Time was she could have ransom'd me with gold. 

Thus as she pray'd, one common show'r of tears 
Burst forth and stream'd from ev'ry eye but hers. 
E'en the priest wept, and with a rude remorse, 710 
Plung'd in her heart the steel's resistless force. 


Her slackened limbs sunk gently to the ground, 
Dauntless her looks, unalter'd by the wound. 
And as she fell, she strove with decent pride 
To hide what suits a virgin's care to hide. 715 

The Trojan matrons the pale corse receive, 
And the whole slaughter'd race of Priam grieve. 
Sad they recount the long disastrous tale ; 
Then with fresh tears, thee, royal maid, bewail: 
Thy widow'd mother too, who ftourish'd late, 720 
The royaJ pride of Asia's happier state: 
A captive lot now to Ulysses borne; 
Whom yet the victor would reject with scorn, 
Were she not Hector's mother : Hector's fame 
Scarce can a master for his mother claim! 725 

With strict embrace the lifeless corse she view'd ; 
And her fresh grief that flood of tears renew'd, 
With which she lately mourn'd so many dead; 
Tears for her country, sons, and husband shed. 729 
With the thick gushing stream shebath'd the wound; 
Kiss'd her pale lips ; then welt'ring on the ground, 
With wonted rage her frantic bosom tore; 
Sweeping her hair amidst the clotted gore; 
Whilst her sad accents thus her loss deplore : 

Behold a mother's last dear pledge of woe! 735 
Yes, 'tis the last I have to suffer now. 
Thou, my Polyxena, my ills must crown : 
Already in thy fate I feel my own. 
'Tis thus, lest haply of my num'rous seed 
One should unslaughter'd fall, even thou must bleed. 
And yet I hop'd thy sex had been thy guard ; 741 
But neither has thy tender sex been spar'd. 
The same Achilles, by whose deadly hate 
Thy brothers fell, urg'd thy untimely fate ! 
The same Achilles, whose destructive rage 745 

Laid waste my realms, has robb'd my childless age ! 
When Paris' shafts with Phoebus' certain aid 
At length had pierc'd this dreadful chief, I said, 
Secure of future ills, He can no more : — 
But see he still pursues me as before. 750 

With rage rekindled his dead ashes burn ; 
And his yet murd'ring ghost my wretched house 
must mourn. 


This tyrant's lust of slaughter I have fed 
With large supplies from my too fruitful bed. 
Troy's tow'rs lie waste ; and the wide ruin ends 755 
The public woe : but me fresh woe attends. 
Troy still survives to me ; to none but me ; 
And from its ills I never must be free. 
I, who so late had pow'r, and wealth, and ease, 
Bless'd with my husband, and a large increase, 760 
Must now in poverty and exile mourn ; 
E'en from the tombs of my dead offspring torn : 
Giv'n to Penelope, who proud of spoil, 
Allots me to the loom's ungrateful toil ; 
Points to her dames, and cries with scorning mien, 
See Hector's mother, and great Priam's queen ! 766 
And thou, my child, sole hope of all that's lost, 
Thou now art slain to soothe this hostile ghost. 
Yes ; my child falls an off'ring to my foe ! 
Then what am I who still survive this woe ? 770 

Say, cruel gods ! for what new scenes of death 
Must a poor aged wretch prolong this hated breath? 
Troy fall'n, to whom could Priam happy seem? 
Yet was he so ; and happy must I deem 
His death ; for O ! my child, he saw not thine, 775 
When he his life did with his Troy resign. 
Yet sure, due obsequies thy tomb might grace ; 
And thou shalt sleep amidst thy kingly race. 
Alas! my child, such fortune does not wait 
Our sufPring house in this abandon'd state ; 780 

A foreign grave, and thy poor mother's tears, 
Are all the honours that attend thy hearse. 
All now is lost! — Yet no; one comfort more 
Of life remains, my much-lov'd Polydore, 
My youngest hope : Here on this coast he lives, 785 
Nurs'd by the guardian king he still survives. 
Then let me hasten to the cleansing flood, 
And wash away these stains of guiltless blood. 
Straight to the shore her feeble steps repair 
With limping pace, and torn dishevell'd hair 790 

Silver'd with age. ' Give me an urn (she cry'd), 
To bear back water from this swelling tide :' — 
When on the banks her son, in ghastly hue, 
Transfixt with Thracian arrows, strikes her view. 


The matron shriek'd; her big-swoln grief surpass M 

The pow'r of utterance ; she stood aghast ; 796 

She had nor speech nor tears to give relief; 

Excess of woe suppress'd the rising grief. 

Lifeless as stone, on earth she fix'd her eyes, 

And then look'd up to heav'n with wild surprise. 800 

Now she contemplates o'er with sad delight 

Her son's pale visage ; then her aching sight 

Dwells on his wounds : She varies thus by turns, 

Till with collected rage at length she burns, 

Wild as the mother lion, when among 805 

The haunts of prey she seeks her ravish'd young : 

Swift flies the ravisher ; she marks his trace, 

And by the print directs her anxious chace. 

So Hecuba, with mingled grief and rage, 

Pursues the king, regardless of her age; 810 

She greets the murd'rer with dissembled joy, 

Of secret treasure hoarded for her boy. 

The specious tale th' unwary king betray'd, 

Fir'd with the hopes of prey: Give quick (he said, 

With soft enticing speech) the promis'd store : 815 

Whate'er you give, you give to Polydore. 

Your son, by the immortal gods I swear, 

Shall this with all your former bounty share. 

She stands attentive to his soothing lies, 

And darts avenging horror from her eyes. 820 

Then full resentment tires her boiling blood: 

She springs upon him 'midst the captive crowd 

(Her thirst of vengeance want of strength supplies) ; 

Fastens her forky fingers in his eyes; 

Tears out the rooted balls ; her rage pursues, 825 

And in the hollow orbs her hand imbrues. 

The Thracians, fir'd at this inhuman scene, 
With darts and stones assail the frantic queen. 
She snarls and growls, nor in a human tone; 
Then bites impatient at the bounding stone ; 830 

Extends her jaws, as she her voice would raise 
To keen invectives in her wonted phrase ; 
But barks, and thence the yelping brute betrays. 
Still a sad monument the place remains, 834 

And from this monstrous change its name obtains : 
Where she in long remembrance of her ills, 


With plaintive howlings the wide desert fills, 

Greeks, Trojans, friends and foes, and gods above, 
Her num'rous wrongs to just compassion move; 
E'en Juno's self forgets her ancient hate, 840 

And owns she had deserv'd a milder fate. 

Yet bright Aurora, partial as she was 
To Troy and those that lov'd the Trojan cause, 
Nor Troy, nor Hecuba can now bemoan, 
But weeps a sad misfortune, more her own. 845 

Her offspring Memnon, by Achilles slain, 
She saw extended on the Phrygian plain : 
She saw, and straight the purple beams, that grace 
The rosy morning, vanish'd from her face : 
A deadly pale her wonted bloom invades, 850 

And veils the low'ring skies with mournful shades. 
But when his limbs upon the pile were laid, 
The last kind duty that by friends is paid, 
His mother to the skies directs her flight, 
Nor could sustain to view the doleful sight ; 855 

But frantic, with her loose neglected hair, 
Hastens to Jove and falls a suppliant there. — 
O king of heav'n, O father of the skies 
(The weeping goddess passionately cries), 
Though I the meanest of immortals am, 860 

And fewest temples celebrate my fame; 
Yet still a goddess I presume to come, 
Within the verge of your ethereal dome ; 
Yet still may plead some merit, if my light 
With purple dawn controls the pow'rs of night ; 865 
If from a female hand that virtue springs, 
Which to the gods, and men such pleasure brings, 
Yet I nor honour seek, nor rites divine, 
Nor for more altars, or more fanes repine; 
O ! that such trifles were the only cause, 870 

From whence Aurora's mind its anguish draws ! 
For Memnon lost, my dearest only child, 
With weightier grief my heavy heart is fill'd ; 
My warrior son ! that liv'd but half his time, 
Nipp'd in the bud, and blasted in his prime ; 875 

Who for his uncle early took the field, 
And by Achilles' fatal spear was kill'd. 


To whom but Jove should I for succour come ? 

For Jove alone could fix his cruel doom. 

O sov'reign of the gods, accept my pray'r, 880 

Grant my request, and soothe a mother's care : 

On the deceas'd some solemn boon bestow, 

To expiate the loss, and ease my woe. 

Jove, with a nod, coinply'd with her desire ; 
Around the body flam'd the fun'ral fire ; 885 

The pile decreas'd, that lately seem'd so high, 
And sheets of smoke roll'd upwards to the sky : 
As humid vapours from a marshy bog, 
Rise by degrees, condensing into fog. 
That intercept the sun's enliv'ning ray, 890 

And with a cloud infect the cheerful day. 
The sooty ashes wafted by the air, 
Whirl round, and thicken in a body there ; 
Then take a form which their own heat and fire, 
With active life and energy inspire. 895 

Its lightness makes it seem to fly, and soon 
It skims on real wings that are its own ; 
A real bird, it beats the breezy wind, 
Mix'd with a thousand sisters of the kind, 
That from the same formation newly sprung, 900 

Up-borne aloft on plumy pinions hung. 
Thrice round the pile advanc'd the circling throng, 
Thrice, with their wings, a whizzing concert rung : 
In their fourth flight their squadron they divide, 
RankM in two different troops, on either side : 905 
Then two, and two, inspir'd with martial rage, 
From either troop in equal pairs engage. 
Each combatant with beak and pounces press'd, 
In wrathful ire, his adversary's breast; 
Each falls a victim, to preserve the fame 910 

Of that great hero, whence their being came. 
From him their courage and their name they take, 
And, as they liv'd, they die for Memnon's sake. 
Punctual to time, with each revolving year, 
In fresh array the champion birds appear ; 915 

Again, prepar'd with vengefol minds, they come 
To bleed, in honour of the soldier's tomb. 

Therefore, in others it appear'd not strange, 
To grieve for Hecuba's unhappy change : 


But poor Aurora had enough to do 920 

With her own loss, to mind another's woe ; 
Who still, in tears, her tender nature shews, 
Besprinkling all the world with pearly dews. 

Troy thus destroy'd, 'twas still denied by fate, 
The hopes of Troy should perish with the state. 925 
His sire, the son of Cytherea bore, 
And household gods from burning Ilium's shore. 
The pious prince (a double duty paid) 
Each sacred burthen through the flames convey'd. 
With young Ascanius and this only prize, 930 

Of heaps of wealth, he from Antandros flies : 
But struck with horror, left the Thracian shore, 
Stain'd with the blood of murder'd Polydore. 
The Delian isle receives the banish'd train, 
Driv'n by kind gales, and favour'd by the main. 935 

Here pious Anius, priest and monarch reign'd, 
And either charge with equal care sustain'd, 
His subjects rul'd, to Phoebus homage paid, 
His god obeying, and by those obey'd. 

The priest displays his hospitable gate, 940 

And shews the riches of bis church and state ; 
The sacred shrubs, which eas'd Latona's pain, 
The palm, the olive, and the votive fane. 
Here grateful flames, with fuming incense fed, 
And mingled wine, ambrosial odours shed ; 945 

Of slaughter'd steers the crackling entrails burn'd : 
And then the strangers to the court return'd. 

On beds of tap'stry plac'd aloft, they dine 
With Ceres' gift, and flowing bowls of wine ; 
When thus Anchises spoke, amidst the feast, 950 

Say, mitred monarch, Phoebus' chosen priest 
(Or ere from Troy by cruel fate expell'd), 
When first mine eyes these sacred walls beheld, 
A son, and twice two daughters crown'd thy bliss ? 
Or errs my mem'ry, and 1 judge amiss ? 955 

The royal prophet shook his hoary head, 
With snowy fillets bound, and sighing, said ; 
Thy mem'ry errs not, prince ; thou saw'st me then, 
The happy father of so large a train ; 
Behold me now (such turns of chance befal PG8 

Q 2 


The race of man !) almost bereft of all. 

For, ah ! what comfort can my son bestow, 

What help afford to mitigate my woe I 

While far from hence, in Andros' isle he reigns 964 

(From him so nam'd), and there my place sustains. 

Him Oelius prescience gave : the twice-born god 

A boon more wondrous on the maids bestow'd. 

Whate'er they touch'd he gave them to transmute 

(A gift past credit, and above their suit), 

To Ceres', Bacchus', and Minerva's fruit. 970 

How great their value, and how rich their use, 

Whose only touch such treasures could produce ! 

The dire destroyer of the Trojan reign, 
Fierce Agamemnon, such a prize to gain 
(A proof we also were design'd by fate 975 

To feel the tempest that o'erturn'd your state), 
With force superior, and a ruffian crew, 
From these weak arms the helpless virgins drew ; 
And sternly bade them use the grant divine, 
To keep the fleet in corn, and oil, and wine. 980 

Each, as they could, escap'd ; two strove to gain 
Eubosa's isle, and two their brother's reign. 
The soldier follows, and demands the dames ; 
If held by force, immediate war proclaims. 
Fear conquer'd nature in their brother's mind, 985 
And gave them up to punishment assign'd. 
Forgive the deed ; nor Hector's arm was there, 
Nor thine, iEneas, to maintain the war; 
Whose only force upheld your Ilium's tow'rs, 
For ten long years, against the Grecian Pow'rs. 990 
Prepar'd to bind their captive arms in bands, 
To heav'n they rear'd their yet unfetter'd hands. 
Help, Bacchus, author of the gift, they pray'd; — 
The gift's great author gave immediate aid; 
If such destruction of their human frame 995 

By ways so wondrous, may deserve the name ; 
Nor could I hear, nor can I now relate 
Exact, the manner of their alter'd state ; 
But this in gen'ral of my loss I knew, 
Transform'd to doves, on milky plumes they 

flew, 1000 

Such as on Ida's mount thy consort's chariot drew. 


With such discourse they entertain'd the feast ; 
Then rose from table, and withdrew to rest. 
The following mora, ere Sol was seen to shine, 
Th' inquiring Trojans sought the sacred shrine, 1005 
The mystic pow'r commands them to explore 
Their ancient mother, and a kindred shore. 
Attending to the sea, the gen'rous prince 
Dismiss'd his guests with rich munificence, 
In old Anchises' hand a sceptre plac'd, 1010 

A vest, and quiver young Ascanius grac'd, 
His sire, a cup; which from th' Abnian coast, 
Ismenian Therses sent his royal host. 
Alcon of Myle made what Therses sent, 
And carv'd thereon this ample argument. 1015 

A town with sev'n distinguish'd gates was shewn, 
Which spoke its name, and made the city known; 
Before it, piles, and tombs, and rising flames, 
The rites of death, and quires of mourning dames, 
Who bar'd their breasts, and gave their hair to flow, 
The signs of grief, and marks of public woe. 1021 

Their fountains dried, the weeping Naiads niourn'd; 
The trees stood bare, with searing cankers burn'd. 
No herbage cloth'd the ground, a ragged flock 
Of goats half-famish'd, lick'd the naked rock. 1025 
Of manly courage, and with mind serene, 
Orion's daughters in the town were seen ; 
One heav'd her chest to meet the lifted knife, 
One plung'd the poniard through the seat of life, 
Their countries' victims ; mourns the rescu'd state, 
The bodies burns, and celebrates their fate. 1031 

To save the failure of th' illustrious line, 
From the pale ashes rose, of form divine, 
Two gen'rous youths ; these, fame Corona? calls, 

Who join the pomp, and mourn their mothers' falls. 
These burnish'd figures form'd of antique mould 

Shone on the brass, with rising sculpture bold; 

A wreath of gilt acanthus round the brim was roll'd. 
Nor less expense the Trojan gifts express'd; 

A fuming censer for the royal priest, 1040 

A chalice, and a crown of princely cost, 

With ruddy gold, and sparkling gems embost. 


Now hoisting sail, to Crete, the Trojans stood, 
Themselves remerub'ring sprung from Teucer's blood ; 
But Heav'n forbids, and pestilential Jove 1045 

From noxious skies the wand'ring navy drove. 
Her hundred cities left, from Crete they bore, 
And sought the destin'd land, Ausonia's shore ; 
But toss'd by storms at either Strophas lay, 
Till scar'd by harpies from the faithless bay ; 1050 
Then passing onward with a prosp'rous wind, 
Left sly Ulysses' spacious realms behind; 
Ambracia's state, in former ages known 
The strife of gods, the judge transform'd to stone 
They saw; for Actian Phoebus since renown'd, 1055 
Who Caesar's arms with naval conquest crown'd ; 
Next pass'd Dodona, wont of old to boast 
Her vocal forest; and Chaonia's coast, 
Where King Molossus' sons on wings aspir'd, 
And saw secure the harmless fuel fir'd. 10G0 

Now to Phaeacia's happy isle they came, 
For fertile orchards known to early fame ; 
Epirus past, they next beheld with joy 
A second Ilium, and fictitious Troy; 
Here Trojan Helenus the sceptre sway'd, 1065 

Who shew'd their fate, and mystic truths display'd. 
By him confirm'd, Sicilia's isle they reach'd, 
Whose sides to sea three promontories stretch'd ; 
Pachynos to the stormy south is plac'd, 
On LilybEeum blows the gentle west ; 1070 

Peloro's cliffs the northern bear survey, 
Who rolls above, and dreads to touch the sea. 
By this they steer, and, favour'd by the tide, 
Secure by night in Zancle's harbour ride. 

Here cruel Scylla guards the rocky shore, 1075 

And there the waves of loud Charybdis roar: 
This sucks, and vomits ships, and bodies drown'd ; 
And rav'nous dogs the womb of that surround, 
In face a virgin ; and (if aught be true 
By bards recorded) once a virgin too. 1080 

A train of youths in vain desir'd her bed ; 
By sea-nymphs lov'd, to nymphs of seas she fled ; 
The maid to these, with female pride, display'd 
Their baffled courtship, and their love betray'd. 


When Galatea thus bespoke the fair 1085 

(But first she sigh'd), while Scylla comb'd her hair; 
You, lovely maid, a gen'rous race pursues, 
Whom safe you may (as now you do) refuse ; 
To me, though pow'rful in a num'rous train 
Of sisters, sprung from gods, who rule the main, 
My native seas could scarce a refuge prove, 1091 

To shun the fury of the Cyclops' love. 

Tears choak'd her utt'rance here; the pitying 
With marble fingers wip'd them off, and said : 

My dearest goddess, let thy Scylla know 1095 

(For I am faithful), whence these sorrows flow. 

The maid's entreaties o'er the nymph prevail, 
Who thus to Scylla tells the mournful tale : 

Acis, the lovely youth whose loss I mourn, 
From Faunus and the nymph Symethis born, 1100 
Was both his parents' pleasure ; but to me 
Was all that love could make a lover be. 
The gods our minds in mutual bands did join: 
I was his only joy, and he was mine. 
Now sixteen summers the sweet youth had seen ; 
And doubtful down began to shade his chin : 1106 
When Polyphemus first disturb'd our joy, 
And lov'd me fiercely as I lov'd the boy. 
Ask not which passion in my soul was high'r, 
My last aversion, or my first desire : 1110 

Nor this the greater was, nor that the less ; 
Both were alike, for both were in excess. 
Thee, Venus, thee, both heav'n and earth obey; 
Immense thy pow'r, and boundless is thy sway. 
The Cyclops, who defy'd th' ethereal throne, 1115 
And thought no thunder louder than his own, 
The terror of the woods, and wilder far 
Than wolves in plains, or bears in forests are, 
Th' inhuman host, who made his bloody feasts 
On mangled members of his butcher'd guests, 1 120 
Yet felt the force of love, and fierce desire, 
And burnt for me with unrelenting fire ; 
Forgot his caverns, and his woolly care, 
Assum'd the softness of a lover's air; 1124 

And comb'd, with teeth of rakes, his rugged hair. 


Now with a crooked scythe his beard he sleeks, 

And mows the stubborn stubble of bis cheeks : 

Now in the crystal stream he looks to try 

His simagres, and rolls his glaring eye. 

His cruelty and thirst of blood are lost; 1130 

And ships securely sail along the coast. 

The prophet Telemus (arriv'd by chance 
Where ^Etna's summits to the seas advance, 
Who mark'd the tracts of ev'ry bird that flew, 
And sure presages from their flying drew) 1135 

Foretold the Cyclops, that Ulysses' hand 
In his broad eye should thrust a flaming brand. 
The giant, with a scornful grin, reply'd, 
Vain augur, thou hast falsely prophesy'd; 
Already love his flaming brand has tost ; 1 140 

Looking on two fair eyes, my sight I lost. 
Thus warn'd in vain, with stalking pace he strode, 
And stamp'd the margin of the briny flood 
With heavy steps ; and weary sought again 
The cool retirement of his gloomy den. 1145 

A promontory, sharpen'd by degrees, 
Ends in a wedge, and overlooks the seas; 
On either side, below, the water flows; 
This airy walk the giant lover chose. 
Here, on the midst he sate; his flocks unled, 1150 
Their shepherd follow'd, and securely fed. 
A pine so burly, and of length so vast, 
That sailing ships requir'd it for a mast, 
He wielded for a staff, his steps to guide: 
But laid it by his whistle while he try'd. 1155 

A hundred reeds, of a prodigious growth, 
Scarce made a pipe proportion'd to his mouth : 
Which when he gave it wind, the rocks around, 
And wat'ry plains, the dreadful hiss resound. 
I heard the ruflian shepherd rudely blow, 1160 

While in a hollow cave I sate below ; 
On Acis' bosom I my head reclin'd: 
And still preserve the poem in my mind. 

O, lovely Galatea, whiter far 
Than falling snows, and rising lilies are; 1185 

More flow'ry than the meads, as crystal bright, 
Erect as alders, and of equal height : 
More wanton than a kid, more sleek thy skin, 


Than orient shells that on the shores are seen; 
Than apples fairer, when the boughs they lade, 1170 
Pleasing, as winter suns, or summer shade: 
More grateful to the sight than goodly plains ; 
And softer to the touch than down of swans ; 
Or curds new turn'd ; and sweeter to the taste 
Than swelling grapes that to the vintage haste; 1175 
More clear than ice, or running streams that stray 
Through garden plots, but ah ! more swift than they. 

Yet Galatea, harder to be broke 
Than bullocks, unreclaim'd, to bear the yoke, 
And far more stubborn than the knotted oak: 1180 
Like sliding streams impossible to hold; 
Like them, fallacious, like their fountains, cold. 
More warping than the willow to decline 
My warm embrace, more brittle than the vine; 
Immoveable and fix'd in thy disdain ; 1185 

Rough as these rocks, and of a harder grain. 
More violent than is the rising flood ; 
And the prais'd peacock is not half so proud. 
Fierce as the fire, and sharp as thistles are, 
And more outrageous than a mother-bear; 1190 

Deaf as the billows to the vows I make ; 
And more revengeful than a trodden snake. 
In swiftness fleeter than the flying hind, 
Or driv'n tempests, or the driving wind. 
All other faults with patience I can bear; 1195 

But swiftness is the vice I only fear. 

Yet if you knew me well, you would not shun 
My love, but to my wish'd embraces run : 
Would languish in your turn, and court my stay; 
And much repent of your unwise delay. 1200 

My palace, in the living rock is made 
By nature's hand; a spacious pleasing shade; 
Which neither heat can pierce, nor cold invade. 
My garden fill'd with fruits, you may behold, 
And grapes in clusters, imitating gold; 1205 

Some blushing bunches of a purple hue : 
And these and those are all reserv'd for you. 
Red strawberries, in shades, expecting stand, 
Proud to be gather'd by so white a hand. 
Autumnal cornels, latter fruit provide ; 1210 


And plums, to tempt you, turn their glossy side ; 
Not those of common kinds; but such alone, 
As in Phaeacian orchards might have grown : 
Nor chesnuts shall be wanting to your food, 
Nor garden fruits, nor wildings of the wood ; 1215 
The laden boughs for you alone shall bear ; 
And yours shall be the product of the year. 
The flocks you see are all my own, beside 
The rest that woods and winding valleys hide ; 
And those that folded in the caves abide. 1220 

Ask not the numbers of my growing store ; 
Who knows how many, knows he has no more. 
Nor will I praise my cattle ; trust not me, 
But judge yourself, and pass your own decree : 
Behold their swelling dugs; the sweepy weight 1225 
Of ewes, that sink beneath the milky freight; 
In the warm folds their tender lambkins lie ; 
Apart from kids, that call with human cry. 
New milk, in nut-brown bowls, is duly serv'd 
For daily drink; the rest for cheese reserv'd. 1230 
Nor are these household dainties all my store : 
The fields and forests will afford us more ; 
The deer, the hare, the goat, the savage boar. 
All sorts of ven'son, and of birds the best ; 
A pair of turtles taken from the nest. 1235 

I walk'd the mountains, and two cubs I found 
(Whose dam had left them on the naked ground), 
So like, that no distinction could be seen : 
So pretty, they were presents for a queen ; 
And so they shall: I took them both away, 1240 

And keep, to be companions of your play. 

Oh raise, fair nymph, your beauteous face above 
The waves; nor scorn my presents, and my love. 
Come, Galatea, come, and view my face; 
I late beheld it in the wat'ry glass, 1245 

And found it lovelier than I fear'd it was. 
Survey my tow'ring stature, and my size : 
Not Jove, the Jove you dream that rules the skies, 
Bears such a bulk, or is so largely spread: 
My locks (the plenteous harvest of my head) 1250 

Hang o'er my manly face, and dangling down, 


As with a shady grove, my shoulders crown. 

Nor think, because my limbs and body bear 

A thick-set underwood of bristling hair, 

My shape deform'd : What fouler sight can be, 1255 

Than the bald branches of a leafless tree 1 

Foul is the steed without a flowing mane; 

And birds, without their feathers and their train. 

Wool decks the sheep ; and man receives a grace 

From bushy limbs, and from a bearded face. 1260 

My forehead with a single eye is fill'd, 

Round as a ball, and ample as a shield. 

The glorious lamp of heav'n, the radiant sun, 

Is nature's eye, and she's content with one. 

Add, that my father sways your seas, and I, 1265 

Like you, am of the wat'ry family. 

I make you his, in making you my own: 

You I adore, and kneel to you alone. 

Jove with bis fabled thunder, I despise, 

And only fear the lightning of your eyes. 1270 

Frown not, fair nymph : yet I could bear to be 

Disdain'd, if others were disdain'd with me. 

But to repulse the Cyclops, and prefer 

The love of Acis, (heav'ns!) I cannot bear. 

But let the stripling please himself; nay more, 1275 

Please you, though that's the thing I most abhor; 

The boy shall find, if ere he cope in fight, 

These giant limbs endu'd with giant might. 

His living bowels, from his belly torn, 

And scatter'd limbs shall on the flood be borne ; 1280 

Thy flood, ungrateful nymph; and fate shall find 

That way for thee and Acis to be join'd. 

For, oh ! I burn with love ; and thy disdain 

Augments at once my passion and my pain. 

Translated ./Etna flames within my heart, 1285 

And thou, inhuman, wilt not ease my smart. 

Lamenting thus in vain, he rose and strode 
With furious paces to the neighb'ring wood : 
Restless his feet, distracted was his walk ; 
Mad were his motions, and confus'd his talk. 1290 
Mad as the vanquish'd bull, when forc'd to yield 
His lovely mistress and forsake the field. 

Thus far unseen I saw: When fatal chance, 


His looks directing with a sudden glance, 

Acis, and I, were to his sight betray'd; 1295 

Where, nought suspecting, we securely play'd. 

From his wide mouth a bellowing cry he cast, 

I see, I see; but this shall be your last: 

A roar so loud made yEtna to rebound; 

And all the Cyclops labour'd in the sound. 1300 

Affrighted with his monstrous voice, I fled, 

And in the neighb'ring ocean plungM my head. < 

Poor Acis turn'd his back, and Help, he cry'd, 

Help, Galatea, help, my parent gods, 

And take me dying, to your deep abodes. 1305 

The Cyclops follow'd; but he sent before 

A rib which from the living rock he tore: 

Though but an angle reach'd him of the stone, 

The mighty fragment was enough alone, 

To crush all Acis; 'twas too late to save, 1310 

But what the fates allow'd to give, I gave: 

That Acis to his lineage should return, 

And roll, among the river gods, his urn. 

Straight issu'd from the stone a stream of blood, 

Which lost the purple, mingling with the flood. 1315 

Then, like a troubled torrent it appear'd; 

The torrent too, in little space was clear'd. 

The stone was cleft, and through the yawning chink 

New reeds arose, on the new river's brink. 

The rock from out its hollow womb disclos'd 1320 

A sound like water in its course oppos'd, 

When (wondrous to behold), full in the flood, 

Up starts a youth, and navel-high he stood. 

Horns from his temples rise; and either horn 

Thick wreaths of reeds (his native growth) adorn. 

Were not his stature taller than before, 1326 

His bulk augmented, and his beauty more, 

His colour blue; for Acis he might pass: 

And Acis chang'd into a stream he was, 

But mine no more; he rolls along the plains 1330 

With rapid motion, and his name retains. 

Here ceas'd the nymph ; the fair assembly broke, 
The sea-green Nereids to the waves betook: 
While Scylla, fearful of the wide-spread main, 


Swift to the safer shore returns again. 1335 

There o'er the sandy margin unarray'd, 

With printless footsteps flies the bounding maid ; 

Or in some winding creek's secure retreat [heat. 

She bathes her weary limbs, and shuns the noonday's 

Her, Glaucus saw, as o'er the deep he rode, 1340 

New to the seas, and late receiv'd a god. 

He saw, and languish'd for the virgin's love, 

With many an artful blandishment he strove 

Her flight to hinder, and her fears remove. 1344 

The more he sues, the more she wings her flight, 

And nimbly gains a neighb'ring mountain's height. 

Steep shelving to the margin of the flood, 

A neighb'ring mountain bare and woodless stood; 

Here, by the place secur'd, her steps she stay'd, 

And, trembling still, her lover's form survey'd. 1350 

His shape, his hue, her troubled sense appall, 

And dropping locks that o'er his shoulders fall ; 

She sees his face divine, and manly brow, 

End in a fish's wreathy tail below : 

She sees, and doubts within her anxious mind, 1355 

Whether he comes of god or monster kind. 

This, Glaucus soon perceiv'd ; and, oh! forbear 

(His hand supporting on a rock lay near), 

Forbear (he cry'd), fond maid, this needless fear : 

Nor fish am I, nor monster of the main, 1360 

But equal with the wat'ry gods I reign; 

Nor Proteus, nor Palsemon me excel, 

Nor he whose breath inspires the sounding shell. 

My birth, 'tis true, I owe to mortal race, 

And I myself but late a mortal was : 1365 

E'en then in seas, and seas alone, I joy'd; 

The seas my hours and all my cares employ'd. 

In meshes now the twinkling prey I drew ; 

Now skilfully the slender line I threw, 

And silent sat the moving float to view. 1370 

Not far from shore there lies a verdant mead, 

With herbage half, and half with water spread : 

There, nor the horned heifers browsing stray, 

Nor shaggy kids, nor wanton lambkins play ; 

There, nor the sounding bees their nectar cull, 1375 

Nor rural swains their genial chaplets pull ; 


Nor flocks, nor herds, nor mowers haunt the place, 
To crop the flow'rs, or cut the bushy grass: 
Thither, sure first of living race came I, 
And sat by chance, my drooping nets to dry. 1380 
My scaly prize, in order all display 'd, 
By number on the greensward there I laid. 
My captives, whom or in my nets I took, 
Or hung unwary on my wily hook, 
Strange to behold ! yet what avails a lie ? 1385 

I saw them bite the grass, as I sat by. 
Then sudden darting o'er the verdant plain, 
They spread their fins, as in their native main : 
I paus'd, with wonder struck, while all my prey 
Left their new master, and regain'd the sea. 1390 
Amaz'd, within my secret self I sought, 
What god, what herb, the miracle had wrought: 
But sure no herbs have pow J r like this (I cry'd), 
And straight I pluck'd some neighb'ring herbs, and 
try'd. 1394 

Scarce had I bit, and prov'd the wondrous taste, 
When strong convulsions shook my troubled breast ; 
I felt my heart grow fond of something strange, 
And my whole nature lab'ring with a change. 
Restless I grew, and ev'ry place forsook, 
And still upon the seas I bent my look. 1400 

Farewell for ever! farewell, land (I said); 
And plung'd amidst the waves my sinking head. 
And gentle pow'rs who that low empire keep, 
Receiv'd me as a brother of the deep ; 
To Tethys, and to Ocean old, they pray 1405 

To purge my mortal earthy parts away. 
The wat'ry parents to their suit agreed, 
And thrice nine times a secret charm they read ; 
Then with lustrations purify my limbs, 
And bid me bathe beneath a hundred streams; 1410 
A hundred streams from various fountains run, 
And on my head at once come rushing down. 
Thus far each passage I remember well, 
And faithfully thus far the tale I tell; 
But then oblivion dark on all my senses fell. 1415 
Again at length my thought reviving came, 
When I no longer found myself the same; 

BOOK XIV. 357 

Then first this sea-green beard I felt to grow, 

And these large honours on my spreading brow ; 

My long, descending locks the billows sweep, 1420 

And my broad shoulders cleave the yielding deep; 

My fishy tail, my arms of azure hue, 

And ev'ry part divinely chang'd, I view. 

But what avail these useless honours now ? 

What joys can immortality bestow ? 1425 

What, though our Nereids all, my form approve 1 

What boots it, while fair Scylla scorns my love 1 

Thus far the god ; and more he would have said : 
When from his presence flew the ruthless maid. 
Stung with repulse, in such disdainful sort, 1430 

He seeks Titanian Circe's horrid court. 



The transformation of Scylla. The voyage of .flEneas continued. 
The transformation of Cercopians into apes. iEneas descends 
to Hell. The story of the Sibyl. The adventures of Acli<r- 
menides. The adventures of Macareus. The enchantments 
of Circe. The story of Picus and Canens. ./Eneas arrives in 
Italy. The adventures of Diomedes. The transformation of 
Appulus. The Trojan ships transformed to sea-nymphs. The 
deification of ./Eneas. Tne line of the Latian Kings. The 
story of Verturanus and Pomona. The story oil phis and Ana- 
xarete. The Latian Line continued. The assumption of Ro- 
mulus. The assumption of Hersilia. 

Now Glaucus, with a lover's haste bounds o'er 
The swelling waves, and seeks the Latian shore. 
Messena, Rhegium, and the barren coast 
Of flaming ^Etna, to his sight are lost : 
At length he gains the Tyrrhene seas, and views 5 
The hills where baneful filters Circe brews ; 
Monsters, in various forms, around her press, 
As thus the god salutes the sorceress : 

O Circe, be indulgent to my grief, 
And give a love-sick deity relief. 10 

Too well the mighty pow'r of plants I know, 
To those my figure and new fate I owe. 
Against Messena, on th' Ausonian coast, 
I Scylla view'd, and from that hour was lost. 
In tend'rest sounds I sued ; bat still the fair 15 


Was deaf to vows, and pitiless to pray'r. 

If numbers can avail, exert their pow'r; 

Or energy of plants, if plants have more. 

I ask no cure ; let but the virgin pine 

With dying pangs, or agonies like mine. 20 

No longer Circe could her flame disguise, 
But to the suppliant god marine replies : 

When maids are coy, have manlier aims in view ; 
Leave those that fly, but those that like pursue. 
If love can be by kind compliance won, 25 

See, at your feet, the daughter of the Sun. 

Sooner (said Glaucus) shall the ash remove 
From mountains, and the swelling surges love ; 
Or humble sea-weed to the hills repair, 
Ere I think any but my Scylla fair. 30 

Straight Circe reddens with a guilty shame, 
And vows revenge for her rejected flame. 
Fierce liking oft a spite as fierce creates ; 
For love refus'd, without aversion, hates. 
To hurt her hapless rival she proceeds ; 35 

And, by the fall of Scylla, Glaucus bleeds. 

Some fascinating bev'rage now she brews, 
Compos'd of deadly drugs and baneful juice. 
At Rhegium she arrives; the ocean braves, 
And treads, with unwet feet, the boiling waves. 40 
Upon the beach a winding bay there lies, 
Shelter'd from seas, and shaded from the skies: 
This station Scylla chose ; a soft retreat 
From chilling winds, and raging Cancer's heat. 
The vengeful sorc'ress visits this recess ; 45 

Her charm infuses, and infects the place. 
Soon as the nymph wades in, her nether parts 
Turn into dogs; then at herself she starts. 
A ghastly horror in her eyes appears; 
But yet she knows not who it is she fears ; 50 

In vain she offers from herself to run ; 
And drags about her what she strives to shun. 

Oppress'd with grief the pitying god appears, 
And swells the rising surges with his tears ; 
From the detested sorc'ress he flies ; 55 

Her art reviles, and her address denies; 

BOOK XIV. 359 

Whilst hapless Scylla, chang'd to rocks, decrees 
Destruction to those barks that beat the seas. 

Here bulg'd the pride of fam'd Ulysses' fleet, 
But good ^Eneas 'scap'd the fate he met. 60 

As to the Latian shore the Trojans stood, 
And cut, with well-tim'd oars, the foaming flood, 
He weather'd fell Charybdis: But ere long, 
The skies were darken'd, and the tempest strong. 
Then to the Libyan coast he stretches o'er, 65 

And makes at length the Carthaginian shore. 
Here Dido, with an hospitable care, 
Into her heart receives the wanderer. 
From her kind arms th' ungrateful hero flies ; 
The injur'd queen looks on with dying eyes, ' 70 

Then to her folly falls a sacrifice. 

iEneas now sets sail, and plying, gains 
Fair Eryx, where his friend Acestes reigns : 
First to his sire does fun'ral rites decree, 
Then gives the signal next, and stands to sea; 75 

Out-runs the islands where volcanoes roar : 
Gets clear of Syrens, and their faithless shore: 
But loses Palinurus in the way; 
Then makes Inarime, and Prochyta. 

The galleys now by Pythecusa pass ; go 

The name is from the natives of the place. 
The father of the gods, detesting lies, 
Oft, with abhorrence, heard their perjuries. 
Th' abandon'd race, transform'd to beasts, began 
To mimic the impertinence of man. 85 

Flat-nos'd, and furrow'd, with grimace they grin ; 
And look, to what they were, too near akin ; 
Merry in make, and busy to no end : 
This moment they divert, the next offend ; 
So much this species of their past retains ; 90 

Though lost the language, yet the noise remains. 

Now, on his right, he leaves Parthenope; 
His left, Misenus jutting in the sea: 
Arrives at Cumae, and with awe survey'd 
The grotto of the venerable maid : 95 


Begs leave through black Avernus to retire ; 
And view the much-lov'd manes of his sire. 
Straight the divining virgin rais'd her eyes, 
And foaming with a holy rage, replies: 

O thou, whose worth thy wondrous works proclaim ; 
The flames, thy piety; the world, thy fame: 101 

Though great be thy request, yet shalt thou see 
Th' Elysian fields, th' infernal monarchy ; 
Thy parent's shade: This arm thy steps shall guide; 
To suppliant virtue nothing is denied. 105 

She spoke, and pointing to the golden bough, 
Which in th' Avernian grove refulgent grew: 
Seize that (she bids) ; he listens to the maid : 
Then views the mournful mansions of the dead: 
The shade of great Anchises, and the place 110 

By fates determin'd to the Trojan race. 

As back to upper light the hero came, 
He thus salutes the visionary dame: 

O, whether some propitious deity, 
Or lov'd by those bright rulers of the sky! 115 

With^rateful incense I shall style you one, 
And deem no godhead greater than your own. 
'Twas you restor'd me from the realms of night, 
And gave me to behold the fields of light : 
To feel the breezes of congenial air ; 120 

And nature's blest benevolence to share. 

I am no deity, reply'd the dame, 
But mortal, and religious rites disclaim, 
Yet had avoided death's tyrannic sway, 
Had I consented to the god of day. 125 

With promises he sought my love : and said, 
' Have all you wish, my fair Cumjean maid.' 
I paus'd ; then pointing to a heap of sand, 
For ev'ry grain, to live a year, demand. 
But, ah ! unmindful of th' effect of time, 130 

Forgot to covenant for youth and prime. 
The smiling bloom, I boasted once, is gone, 
And feeble age, with lagging limbs, creeps on. 
Sev'n cen fries have I liv'd; three more fulfil 
The period of the years to finish still. 135 


Who'll think, that Phoebus, drest in youth divine 
Had once believ'd his lustre less than mine'? 
This wither'd frame (so fates have will'd) shall waste 
To nothing, but prophetic words, at last. 

The Sibyl mounting now from nether skies, 140 
And the fam'd Ilian prince, at Cumse rise. 
He sail'd, and near the place to anchor came, 
Since call'd Caieta from his nurse's name". 
Here did the luckless Macareus, a friend ' 
To wise Ulysses, his long labours end. 1 45 

Here wand'ring Achaemenides he meets, 
And sudden thus his late associate greets : [bound » 

W hence came you here, O friend, and whither 
All deem'd you lost on far Cyclopean ground; 
A Greek's at last aboard a Trojan found. 150 

Thus Achaemenides:— With thanks I name 
./Eneas, and his piety proclaim. 
I 'scap'd the Cyclops through the hero's aid, 
Else in his maw my mangled limbs had laid. 
When first your navy under sail he found, 155 

He rav'd, till ^Etna labour'd with the sound. 
Raging he stalk'd along the mountain's sidej 
And vented clouds of breath at ev'ry stride, ' 
His staff a mountain ash ; and in the clouds, 
Oft, as he walks, his grisly front he shrouds. 160 

Eyeless he grop'd about, with vengeful haste, 
And justled promontories, as he pass'd, 
Then heav'd a rock's high summit to the main, 
And bellow'd, like some bursting hurricane. 

Oh! could I seize Ulysses in his flight, 165 

How unlamented were my loss of sight! 
These jaws should piece-meal tear each panting vein, 
Grind ev'ry cracking bone, and pound his brain. 
As thus he rav'd, my joints with horror shook; 
The tide of blood my chilling heart forsook; 170 

I saw him once disgorge huge morsels, raw, 
Of wretches undigested in his maw. 
From the pale breathless trunks, whole limbs he tore, 
His beard all clotted with o'erflowing gore. 
My anxious hours I pass'd in caves ; my food 175 


Was forest fruits, and wildiners of the wood. 
At length a sail I wafted, and aboard 
My fortune found an hospitable lord. 

Now in return your own adventures tell, 
And what, since first you put to sea, befell. 180 

Then Macareus : — There reign'd a prince of fame 
O'er Tuscan seas, and iEblus his name. 
A largess to Ulysses he consign 'd, 
And in a steer's tough hide inclos'd a wind. 
Nine days before the swelling gale we ran : 185 

The tenth, to make the meeting land, began : 
When now the merry mariners, to find 
Imagin'd wealth within, the bag unbind. 
Forthwith out rush'd a gust, which backwards bore 
Our galleys to the Lasstrigonian shore, 190 

Whose crown Antiphates the tyrant wore. 
Some few commission'd were with speed to treat ; 
We to his court repair, his guards we meet. 

Two, friendly flight preserv'd : the third was dooiu'd 
To be by those curst cannibals consum'd. 195 

Inhumanly our hapless friends they treat ; 
Our men they murder, and destroy our fleet. 
In time the wise Ulysses bore away, 
And dropp'd his anchor in yon faithless bay. 
The thoughts of perils past we still retain, 200 

And fear to land, till lots appoint the men. 
Polites true, Elpenor giv'n to wine, 
Eurylochus, myself, the lots assign. 
Design'd for dangers, and resolv'd to dare, 
To Circe's fatal palace we repair. 205 

Before the spacious front, a herd we find 
Of beasts, the fiercest of the savage kind. 
Our trembling steps with blandishments they meet, 
And fawn, unlike their species, at our feet. 
Within, upon a sumptuous throne of state, 210 

On golden columns rais'd, th' enchantress sat. 
Rich was her robe, and amiable her mien, 
Her aspect awful, and she look'd a queen. 
Her maids nor mind the loom, nor household care, 


Nor wage in needle-work a Scythian war; 21.5 

But cull, in canisters, disastrous flow'rs, 

And plants from haunted heaths and fairy bow'rs, 

With brazen sickles reap'd at planetary hours. 

Each dose the goddess weighs with watchful eye ; 

So nice her art in impious pharmacy! 220 

Ent'ring, she greets us with a gracious look 

And airs, that future amity bespoke. 

Her ready nymphs serve up a rich repast; 

The bowl she dashes first, then gives to taste. 

Quick to our own undoing, we comply ; 22.5 

Her pow'r we prove, and shew the sorcery. 

Soon, in a length of face, our head extends; 
Our chine stiff bristles bears, and forward bends : 
A breadth of brawn new burnishes our neck ; 
Anon we grunt, as we begin to speak. 230 

Alone Eurylochus refus'd to taste, 
Nor to a beast obscene the man debas'd. 
Hither Ulysses hastes (so fates command), 
And bears the pow'rful moly in his hand ; 
Unsheaths his scimitar, assaults the dame, 235 

Preserves his species, and remains the same. 
The nuptial rite this outrage straight attends ; 
The dow'r desir'd is his transfigur'd friends. 
The incantation backward she repeats, 
Inverts her rod, and what she did, defeats. 240 

And now our skin grows smooth, our shape upright ; 
Our arms stretch up, our cloven feet unite. 
With tears our weeping gen'ral we embrace ; 
Hang on his neck, and melt upon his face. 
Twelve silver moons in Circe's court we stay, 245 
Whilst there we waste th' unwilling hours away. 
'Twas here I spy'd a youth in Parian stone; 
His head a pecker bore ; the cause unknown 
To passengers. A nymph of Circe's train 
The myst'ry thus attempted to explain. 250 

Picus, who once th' Ausonian sceptre held, 
Could rein the steed, and fit him for the field. 
So like he was to what you see, that still 
We doubt if real, or the sculptor's skill. 
The graces in the finish'd piece, you find, 255 


Are but the copy of his fairer mind. 

Four lustres scarce the royal youth could name, 

Till ev'ry love-sick nymph confessed a flame. 

Oft for his love the mountain Dryads su'd, 

And ev'ry silver sister of the flood: 2C0 

Those of Numicus, Albula, and those 

Where Almo creeps, and hasty Nar o'erflows : 

Where sedgy Anio glides through smiling meads, 

Where shady Farfar rustles in the reeds; 

And those that love the lakes, and homage owe 265 

To the chaste goddess of the silver bow. 

In vain each nymph her brightest charms put on, 
His heart no sov'reign would obey but one. 
She whom Venilia, on Mount Palatine, 
To Janus bore, the fairest of her line. 270 

Nor did her face alone her charms confess, 
Her voice was ravishing, and pleas'd no less. 
Whene'er she sung, so melting were her strains, 
The flocks unfed seem'd list'ning on the plains ; 
The rivers would stand still, the cedars bend; 275 

The birds neglect their pinions, to attend; 
The savage kind in forest-wilds grow tame ; 
And Canens, from her heavenly voice, her name. 

Hymen had now in some ill-fated hour 
Their hands united, as there hearts before. 280 

Whilst their soft moments in delights they waste, 
And each new day was dearer than the past; 
Picus would sometimes o'er the forests rove, 
And mingle sports with intervals of love. 
It chane'd, as once the foaming boar he chas'd, 285 
His jewels sparkling on his Tyrian vest, 
Lascivious Circe well the youth survey'd, 
As simpling on the flow'ry hills she stray'd. 
Her wishing eyes their silent message tell, 
And from her lap the verdant mischief fell. 290 

As she attempts at words, his courser springs 
O'er hills, and lawns, and e'en a wish outwings. 

Thou shalt not 'scape me so, pronoune'd the 
If plants have pow'r, and spells be not a name. 
She said ; — and forthwith form'd a boar of air, 295 
That sought the covert with dissembled fear. 

BOOK XIV. 365 

Swift to the thicket Picus wings his way 
On foot to chase the visionary prey. 

Now she invokes the daughters of the night, 
Does noxious juices smear, and charms recite : 300 
Such as can veil the moon's more feeble fire, 
Or shade the golden lustre of her sire. 
In filthy fogs she hides the cheerful noon ; 
The guard at distance, and the youth alone. 
By those fair eyes (she cries), and ev'ry grace 305 
That finish all the wonders of your face, 
O! I conjure thee, hear a queen complain, 
Nor let the Sun's soft lineage sue in vain. 

Whoe'er thou art (reply'd the king), forbear, 
None can my passion with my Canens share. 310 
She first my ev'ry tender wish possess'd, 
And found the soft approaches to my breast. 
In nuptials blest, each loose desire we shun, 
Nor time can end, what innocence begun. 

Think not (she cry'd) to saunter out a life 315 

Of form, with that domestic drudge, a wife; 
My just revenge, dull fool, ere lung shall shew 
What ills we women, if refus'd, can do; 
Think me a woman, and a lover too. 
From dear successful spite we hope for ease, 320 

Nor fail to punish, where we fail to please. 

Now twice to east she turns, as oft to west : 
Thrice waves her wand, as oft her charms ex- 

On the lost youth her magic pow'r she tries; 
Aloft he springs, and wonders how he Hies. 325 

On painted plumes the woods he seeks, and still 
The monarch oak he pierces with his bill. 
Thus chang'd, no more o'er Latian lands he reigns ; 
Of Picus nothing but the name remains. 

The winds from drisling damps now purge 

the air, 330 

The mist subsides, the settling skies are fair : 
The court their sov reign seek with arms in hand, 
They threaten Circe, and their lord demand. 
Quick she invokes the spirits of the air, 
And twilight elves, that on dun wings repair 335 

To enamels, and th' unhallow'd sepulchre. 


Now, strange to tell, the plants sweat drops of blood, 
The trees are toss'd from forests where they stood ; 
Blue serpents, o'er the tainted herbage slide, 
Pale glaring spectres on the aether ride ; 340 

Dogs howl, earth yawns,rent rocks forsake their beds, 
And from their quarries heave their stubborn heads. 
The sad spectators, stiffen'd with their fears, 
She sees, and sudden ev'ry limb she smears; 
Then each of savage beasts the figure bears. 345 

The Sun did now to western waves retire, 
In tides to temper his bright world of fire. 
Canens lament her royal husband's stay; 
111 suits fond love with absence or delay. 
Where she commands, her ready people run ; 350 

She wills, retracts ; bids, and forbids anon. 
Restless in mind, and dying with despair, 
Her breasts she beats, and tears her flowing hair. 
Six days and nights she wanders on as chance 
Directs, without or sleep, or sustenance. 355 

Tiber at last beholds the weeping fair; 
Her feeble limbs no more the mourner bear; 
Stretch'd on his banks, she to the flood complains, 
And faintly tunes her voice to dying strains. 
The sick'ning swan thus hangs her silver wings, 360 
And, as she droops, her elegy she sings. 
Ere long sad Canens wastes to air; whilst fame 
The place still honours with her hapless name. 

Here did the tender tale of Picus cease, 
Above belief, the wonder I confers. 3C5 

Again we sail, but more disasters meet, 
Foretold by Circe, to our suff'ring fleet. 
Myself, unable further woes to bear, 
Declin'd the voyage, and am refug'd here. 

Thus Macareus. — Now with a pious aim 370 

Had good iEneas rais'd a fun'ral flame, 
In honour of his hoary nurse's name. 
Her epitaph he fix.'d ; and, setting sail, 
Caieta left, and catch'd at ev'ry gale. 

He steer'd at distance from the faithless shore, 375 
Where the false goddess reigns with fatal pow'r; 

BOOK XIV. 367 

And sought those grateful groves that shade the 

Where Tiber rolls majestic to the main, 
And fattens, as he runs, the fair campaign. 

His kindred gods the hero's wishes crown 380 

With fair Lavinia, and Latinus' throne : 
But not without a war the prize he won. 
Drawn up in bright array the battle stands : 
Turnus with arms his promis'd wife demands. 
Hetrurians, Latians, equal fortune share; 385 

And doubtful long appears the face of war. 
Both pow'rs from neighb'ring princes seek 

And embassies appoint for new allies. 
./Eneas, for relief, Evander moves ; 
His quarrel he asserts, his cause approves. 390 

The bold Rutulians, with an equal speed, 
Sage Venulus dispatch to Diomede. 
The king, late griefs revolving in his mind, 
These reasons for neutrality assign'd : 

Shall I, of one poor dotal town possest, 395 

My people thin, my wretched country waste; 
An exil'd prince, and on a shaking throne; 
Or risk my patron's subjects, or my own? 
You'll grieve the harshness of our hap to hear ; 
Nor can I tell the tale without a tear. 400 

After fam'd Ilium was by Argives won, 
And flames had finish'd, what the sword begun ; 
Pallas, incens'd, pursu'd us to the main, 
In vengeance of her violated fane. 
Alone Oileus forc'd the Trojan maid, 405 

Yet all were punish'd for the brutal deed. 
A storm begins, the raging waves run high, 
The clouds look heavy, and benight the sky; 
Red sheets of lightning o'er the seas are spread, 
Our tackling yields, and wrecks at last succeed. 410 
'Tis tedious our disastrous state to tell ; 
E'en Priam would have pitied what befell. 
Yet Pallas sav'd me from the swallowing main ; 
At home new wrongs to meet, as fates ordain. 


Chas'd from my country, I once more repeat 41 5 

All suff'ring seas could give, or war complete. 

For Venus, mindful of her wound, decreed 

Still new calamities should past succeed. 

Agmon, impatient through successive ills, 

With fury, Love's bright goddess, thus reviles : 420 

These plagues in spite to Diomede are sent; 

The crime is his, but ours the punishment. 

Let each, my friends, her puny spleen despise, 

And dare that haughty harlot of the skies. 

The rest of Agmon's insolence complain, 425 

And of irreverence the wretch arraign. 
About to answer, his blaspheming throat 
Contracts, and shrieks in some disdainful note. 
To his new skin a fleece of feather clings, 
Hides his late arms, and lengthens into wings. 430 
The lower features of his face extend, 
Warp into horn, and in a beak descend. 
Some more experience Agmon's destiny, 
And wheeling in the air, like swans they fly. 
These thin remains to Daunus' realms I bring, 435 
And here I reign, a poor precarious king. 

Thus Diomedes. — Venulus withdraws ; 
Unsped the service of the common cause. 
Puteoli he passes, and survey'd 

A cave long honour'd for its awful shade. 440 

Here trembling reeds exclude the piercing ray, 
Here streams, in gentle falls, through windings 

And with a passing breath cool zephyrs play. 
The goatherd god frequents the silent place, 
As once the wood-nymphs of the sylvan race, 445 
Till Appulus, ■with a dishonest air, 
And gross behaviour, banish'd thence the fair. 
The bold buffoon, whene'er they tread the green, 
Their motion mimics, but with jest obscene. 
Loose language oft he utters ; but ere long 450 

A bark, in filmy net-work, binds his tongue. 
Thus chang'd, a base wild olive he remains; 
The shrub the coarseness of the clown retains. 

BOOK XIV. 369 

Meanwhile the Latians all their pow'r prepare, 
'Gainst fortune, and the foe, to push the war. 455 
With Phrygian blood the floating fields they stain ; 
But, short of succours, still contend in rain. 
Turnus remarks the Trojan fleet ill mann'd, 
Unguarded, and at anchor near the strand ; 
He thought ; and straight a lighted brand he bore, 460 
And fire invades, what 'scap'd the waves before. 
The billows from the kindling prow retire ; 
Pitch, rosin, searwood on red wings aspire, 
And Vulcan on the seas exerts his attribute of fire. 

This, when the mother of the gods beheld, 405 

Her tow'ry crown she shook, and stood reveal'd; 
Her brindled lions rein'd, unveil'd her head, 
And hov'ring o'er her favour 'd fleet, she said: 

Cease, Turnus, and the heav'nly pow'rs respect, 
Nor dare to violate, what I protect. 470 

These galleys, once fair trees on Ida stood, 
And gave their shade to each descending god, 
Nor shall consume; irrevocable Fate 
Allots their being no determin'd date. 

Straight peals of thunder heav'n's high arches 
rend, * 475 

The hailstones leap, the show'rs in spouts descend. 
The winds with widen'd throats the signal give, 
The cables break, the smoking vessels drive. 
Now wondrous, as they beat the foaming flood, 
The timber softens into flesh and blood ; 480 

The yards and oars new arms, and legs design; 
A trunk the hull ; the slender keel, a spine ; 
The prow, a female face ; and by degrees 
The galleys rise green daughters of the seas. 
Sometimes on coral beds they sit in state, 4S5 

Or wanton on the waves they fear'd of late. 
The barks that beat the seas are still their care, 
Themselves rememb'ring what of late they were ; 
To save a Trojan sail in throngs they press, 
But smile to see Alcinoiis in distress. 490 

Unable were those wonders to deter 
The Latians from their unsuccessful war. 
R 2 


Both sides for doubtful victory contend ; 

And on their courage, and their gods depend. 

Nor bright Lavinia, nor Latinus' crown, 495 

Warm their great soul to war, like fair renown. 

Venus at last beholds her godlike son 

Triumphant, and the field of battle won ; 

Brave Turnus slain, strong Ardea but a name, 

And buried in fierce deluges of flame. 500 

Her tow'rs, that boasted once a sov'reign sway, 

The fate of fancied grandeur now betray. 

A famish'd heron from the ashes springs, 

And beats the ruin with disastrous wings. 

Calamities of towns distrest she feigns, 505 

And oft, with woeful shrieks, of war complains. 

Now had ^Eneas, as ordain'd by fate, 
Surviv'd the period of Saturnia's hate; 
And by a sure, irrevocable doom, 
Fix'd the immortal majesty of Rome. 5(0 

Fit for the station of his kindred stars, 
His mother goddess thus her suit prefers: 

' Almighty arbiter, whose pow'rful nod 
Shakes distant earth, and bows our own abode ; 
To thy great progeny indulgent be, 51. 

And rank the goddess-born a deity. 
Already has he view'd, with mortal eyes, 
Thy brother's kingdoms of the nether skies.' 

Forthwith a conclave of the godhead meets, 
Where Juno in the shining senate sits. 520 

Remorse for past revenge the goddess feels ; 
Then thund'ring Jove th' almighty mandate seals ; 
Allots the prince of his celestial line 
An apotheosis, and rites divine. 

The crystal mansions echo with applause, 525 

And, with her graces, Love's bright queen with- 
Shoots in a blaze of light along the skies, 
And, borne by turtles, to Laurentum flies ; 
Alights, where through the reeds Numicius strays, 
And to the seas his wat'ry tribute pays. 530 

The god she supplicates to wash away 
The parts more gross, and subject to decay, 

BOOK XIV. 371 

And cleanse the goddess-born from seminal allay. 
The horned flood with glad attention stands, 
Then bids his streams obey their sire's commands. 

His better parts by lustral waves refin'd, 536 

More pure, and nearer to ethereal mind ; 
With gums of fragrant scent the goddess strews, 
And on his features breathes ambrosial dews. 
Thus deified, new honours Rome decrees, MO 

Shrines, festivals; and styles him Indiges. 

Ascanius now the Latian sceptre sways : 
The Alban nation, Sylvius, next obeys; 
The young Latinus : next an Alba came, 
The grace and guardian of the Alban name. 545 

Then Epitus: then gentle Capys reign'd; 
Then Capetus the regal pow'r sustain 'd. 
Next he, who perish 'd on the Tuscan flood, 
And honour'd with his name the river god. 
Now haughty Romulus begun his reign, 550 

Who fell by thunder he aspir'd to feign. 
Meek Acrota succeeded to the crown ; 
From peace endeav'ring, more than arms, renown, 
To Aventinus well resign'd his throne. 
The mount, on which he rul'd, preserves his 

name, 555 

And Procas wore the regal diadem. 

A Hama-dryad flourish'd in these days, 
Her name Pomona, from her woodland race. 
In garden culture none could her excel, 
Or form the pliant souls of plants so well; 560 

Or to the fruit more gen'rous flavours lend, 
Or teach the trees with nobler loads to bend. 

The nymph frequented not the flatt'ring stream, 
Nor meads, the subject of a virgin's dream ; 
But to such joys her nurs'ry did prefer, 565 

Alone to tend her vegetable care. 
A pruning hook she carried in her hand, 
And taught the stragglers to obey command; 
Lest the licentious and unthrifty bough, 
The too indulgent parent should undo. 570 

She shews, how stocks invite to their embrace 


A graft, and naturalize a foreign race 

To mend the salvage teint ; and in its stead 

Adopt new nature and a nobler breed. 

Now hourly she observes her growing care, 575 
And guards their nonage from the bleaker air ; 
Then opes her streaming sluices, to supply 
With flowing draughts her thirsty family. 

Long had she labour'd to continue free 
From chains of love, and nuptial tyranny; 580 

And in her orchard's small extent immur'd, 
Her vow'd virginity she still secur'd. 
Oft would loose Pan, and all the lustful train 
Of satyrs, tempt her innocence in vain. 
Silenus, that old dotard, own'd a flame; 585 

And he, that frights the thieves with stratagem 
Of sword, and something else too gross to name. 
Vertumnus too pursued the maid no less ; 
But, with his rivals, shard a like success. 
To gain access, a thousand ways he tries ; 590 

Oft in the hind, the lover would disguise, 
The heedless lout comes shambling on, and seems 
Just sweating from the labour of his teams. 
Then, from the harvest, oft the mimic swain 
Seems bending with a load of bearded grain. 595 

Sometimes a dresser of the vine he feigns, 
And lawless tendrils to their bounds restrains. 
Sometimes his sword a soldier shews; his rod 
An angler ; still so various is the god. 
Now, in a forehead-cloth, some crone he seems, GOO 
A staff supplying the defect of limbs : 
Admittance thus he gains; admires the store 
Of fairest fruit ; the fair possessor more ; 
Then greets her with a kiss : Th' unpractis'd dame 
Admir'd, a grandame kiss'd with such a flame. 605 
Now seated by her, he beholds a vine, 
Around an elm in am'rous foldings twine. 
If that fair elm (he cry'd) alone should stand, 
No grapes would glow with gold, and tempt the hand ; 
Or if that vine without her elm should grow, 610 
'Twould creep a poor neglected shrub below. 
Be then, fair nymph, by these examples led; 
Nor shun, for fancied fears, the nuptial bed* 

BOOK XIV. 373 

Not she for whom the Lapithites took arms, 

Nor Sparta's queen could boast such heavenly charms; 

And if you would on woman's faith rely, 616 

None can your choice direct so well as I. 

Though old, so much Pomona I adore, 

Scarce does the bright Vertumnus love her more. 

*Tis your fair self alone his breast inspires 620 

With softest wishes, and unsoil'd desires. 

Then fly all vulgar followers, and prove 

The god of Seasons only worth your love. 

On my assurance well you may repose ; 

Vertumnus scarce Vertumnus better knows. 625 

True to his choice, all looser flames he flies; 

Nor for new faces fashionably dies. 

The charms of youth, and ev'ry smiling grace 

Bloom in his features, and the god confess. 

Besides, he puts on every shape at ease ; 630 

But those the most that best Pomona please. 

Still to oblige her, is her lover's aim ; 

Their likings and aversions are the same. 

Nor the fair fruit your burthen'd branches bear ; 

Nor all the youthful product of the year, 635 

Gould bribe his choice ; your self alone could prove 

A fit reward for so refin'd a love. 

Relent, fair nymph, and with a kind regret, 

Think 'tis Vertumnus weeping at your feet. 

A tale attend, through Cyprus known, to prove 640 

How Venus once reveng'd neglected love. 

Iphis, of vulgar birth, by chance had view'd 
Fair Anaxarete, of Teucer's blood. 
Not long had he beheld the royal dame, 
Ere the bright sparkle kindled into flame. 645 

Oft did he struggle with a just despair, 
Unfix'd to ask, unable to forbear. 
But love, who flatters still his own disease, 
Hopes all things will succeed, he knows will please. 
Where'er the fair one haunts, he hovers there : 650 
And seeks her confident with sighs and pray'r. 
Or letters he conveys, that seldom prove 
Successless messengers in suits of love. 

Now shiv'ring at her gates the wretch appears, 


And myrtle garlands on the columns rears, 655 

Wet with a deluge of unbidden tears. 

The nymph, more hard than rocks, more deaf than 

Derides his pray'rs, insults his agonies; [seas, 

Arraigns of insolence th' aspiring swain, 

And takes a cruel pleasure in his pain. CO** 

Resolv'd at last to finish his despair, 

He thus upbraids th' inexorable fair : 

O Anaxarete, at last forget 
The licence of a passion indiscreet. 
Now triumph, since a welcome sacrifice 665 

Your slave prepares to oner to your eyes. 
My life, without reluctance, I resign ; 
That present best can please a pride like thine. 
But, O, forbear to blast a flame so bright, 
Doom'd never to expire, but with the light. 670 

And you, great pow'rs, do justice to my name : 
The hours you take from life, restore to fame. 

Then o'er the posts, once hung with wreaths, he 
The ready cord, and fits the fatal noose ; 
For death prepares ; and, bounding from above, 675 
At once the wretch concludes his life and love. 

Ere long the people gather, and the dead 
Is to his mourning mother's arms convey'd. 
First, like some gbastly statue, she appears ; 
Then bathes the breathless corse in seas of tears, C80 
And gives it to the pile; now as the throng 
Proceed in sad solemnity along, 
To view the passing pomp, the cruel fair 
Hastes, and beholds her breathless lover there. 
Struck with the sight, inanimate she seems ; 685 

Set are her eyes, and motionless her limbs; 
Her features wiihout fire, her colour gone, 
And, like her heart, she hardens into stone. 
In Salamis the statue still is seen, 
In the fam'd temple of the Cyprian queen. 690 

Warn'd by this tale, no longer then disdain, 
O nymph belov'd, to ease a lover's pain. 
So may the frosts in spring your blossoms spare, 
And winds their rude autumnal rage forbear. 

BOOK XIV. 375 

The story oft Vertumnus urg'd in vain, 695 

But then assum'd his heav'nly form again. 
Such looks and lustre the bright youth adorn, 
As when with rays glad Phoebus paints the morn. 
The sight so warms the fair admiring maid, 
Like snow she melts ; so soon can youth persuade. 700 
Consent on eager wings succeeds desire ; 
And both the lovers glow with mutual fire. 

Now Procas yielding to the fates, his son 
Mild Numitor succeeded to the crown. 
But false Amulius, with a lawless pow'r, 705 

At length depos'd his brother Numitor. 
Then Ilia's valiant issue, with the sword, 
Her parent re-enthron'd the rightful lord. 
Next Romulus to people Rome contrives ; 
The joyous time of Pales' feast arrives ; 710 

He gives the word to seize the Sabine wives. 
The sires, enrag'd, take arms, by Tatius led, 
Bold to revenge their violated bed. 
A fort there was, not yet unknown to fame, 
Call'd the Tarpeian, its commander's name. 715 

This by the false Tarpeia was betray'd, 
But death well recompens'd the treach'rous maid. 
The foe on this new-bought success relies, 
And silent march the city to surprise. 
Saturnia's arts with Sabine arms combine, 720 

But Venus countermines the vain design ; 
Intreats the nymphs that o'er the springs preside, 
Which near the fane of hoary Janus glide, 
To send their succours; ev'ry urn they drain, 
To stop the Sabines' progress, but in vain. 725 

The Naiads now more stratagems essay; 
And kindling sulphur to each source convey. 
The floods ferment, hot exhalations rise, 
Till from the scalding ford the army flies. 
Soon Romulus appears in shining arms, 730 

And to the war the Roman legions warms. 
The battle rages, and the field is spread 
With nothing but the dying and the dead. 
Both sides consent to treat without delay, 
And their two chiefs at once the sceptre sway. 735 


But Tatius by Lavinian fury slain ; 
Great Romulus continued long to reign. 

Now warrior Mars his burnish'd helm puts on, 
And thus addresses heav'n's imperial throne : 

Since the inferior world is now become 740 

One -vassal globe, and colony to Rome, 
This grace, Jove, for Romulus I claim, 
Admit him to the skies, from whence he came. 
Long hast thou promis'd an ethereal state 
To Mars's lineage ; and thy word is fate. 745 

The sire that rules the thunder, with a nod 
Declar'd the fiat, and dismiss'd the god. 

Soon as the pow'r armipotent survey'd 
The flashing skies, the signal he obey'd; 
And leaning on his lance he mounts his car, 750 

His fiery coursers lashing through the air. 
Mount Palatine he gains, and finds his son 
Good laws enacting on a peaceful throne ; 
The scales of heav'nly justice holding high, 
With steady hand, and a discerning eye. 755 

Then vaults upon his car, and to the spheres, 
Swift as a flying shaft, Rome's founder bears. 
The parts more pure in rising are refin'd, 
The gross and perishable lag behind. 
His shrine in purple vestments stands in view ; 760 
He looks a god, and is Quirinus now. 

Ere long the goddess of the nuptial bed, 
With pity mov'd, sends Iris in her stead 
To sad Hersilia. Thus the meteor maid: 

Chaste relict! in bright truth to heav'n allied, 765 
The Sabine's glory and the sex's pride ; 
Honour'd on earth, and worthy of the love 
Of such a spouse as now resides above, 
Some respite to thy killing griefs afford; 
And if thou wouldst once more behold thy lord, 770 
Retire to yon steep mount with groves o'erspread, 
Which with an awful gloom his temples shade. 

With fear the modest matron lifts her eyes. 
And to the bright ambassadress replies : 

O goddess, yet to mortal eyes unknown, 775 

But sure thy various charms confess thee one : 

BOOK XV. 377 

O, quick to Romulus thy votress bear, 
With looks of love he'll smile away my care: 
In whate'er orb he shines, my heav'n is there. 

Then hastes with Iris to the holy grove, 780 

And up the mount Quirinal as they move, 
A lambent flame glides downward through the air, 
And brightens with ablaze Hersilia's hair. 
Together on the bounding ray they rise, 
And shoot a gleam of light along the skies. 785 

With op'ning arms Quirinus met his bride, 
Now Ora nam'd, and press'd her to his side. 



The Pythagorean philosophy. The story of Hippolytus. Egeria 
transformed to a fountain. The story of Cippus. The occa- 
sion of iEsculapius being brought to Rome. The deification 
of Julius Caesar. The reign of Augustus, in which Ovid flou- 
rished. The Poet concludes. 

A king is sought to guide the growing state, 

One able to support the public weight, 

And fill the throne where Romulus had sate. 

Renown, which oft bespeaks the public voice, 

Had recommended Numa to their choice; 5 

A peaceful pious prince; who, not content 

To know the Sabine rites, his study bent 

To cultivate his mind ; to learn the laws 

Of nature, and explore their hidden cause. 

Urg'd by this care, his country he forsook, 10 

And to Crotona thence his journey took. 

Arriv'd, he first inquir'd the founder's name 

Of this new colony, and whence he came. 

Then thus a senior of the place replies 

(Well read, and curious of antiquities) : 15 

'Tis said, Alcides hither took his way 

From Spain, and drove along his conquer'd prey ; 

Then, leaving in the fields his grazing cows, 

He sought himself some hospitable house : 

Good Croton entertain'd his godlike guest, 20 

While he repair'd his weary limbs with rest. 


The hero, thence departing, bless'd the place; 

And here (he said), in time's revolving race, 

A rising town shall take its name from thee. 

Revolving time fulfill'd the prophecy : 25 

For Myscelos, the justest man on earth, 

Alemon's son, at Argos had his birch ; 

Him Hercules, arm'd with his club of oak, 

O'ershadow'd in a dream, and thus bespoke : 

Go, leave thy native soil, and make abode, 30 

Where iEsaris rolls down his rapid flood. 

He said, and sleep forsook him and the god. 

Trembling he wak'd, and rose with anxious heart ; 

His country laws forbade him to depart : 

What should he do? 'Twas death to go away, 35 

And the god menac'd, if he dared to stay. 

All day he doubted, and when nigh* came on, 

Sleep, and the same forewarning dream, begun : 

Once more the god stood threat'ning o'er his head, 

With added curses if he disobey'd. 40 

Twice warn'd, he studied flight; but would convey 

At once his person, and his wealth away : 

Thus, while he linger'd, his design was heard ; 

A speedy process form'd, and death declar'd. 

Witness there needed none of his offence ; 45 

Against himself the wretch was evidence : 

Condemn'd, and destitute of human aid, 

To him, for whom he suffer'd, thus he pray'd : 

O pow'r, who hast deserv'd in heav'n a throne, 
Not giv'n, but by thy labours made thy own, 60 

Pity thy suppliant, and protect his cause, 
Whom thou hast made obnoxious to the laws. 

A custom was of old, and still remains, 
Which life or death by suffrages ordains : 
White stones and black within an urn are cast : 55 
The first absolve, but fate is in the last. 
The judges to the common urn bequeath 
Their votes, and drop the sable signs of death ; 
The box receives all black, but, pour *d from thence, CO 
The stones came candid forth; the hue of innocence. 
Thus Alemonides his safety won, 
Preserv'd from death by Alcumena's son: 
Then to his kinsman-god his vows he pays, 

BOOK XV. 379 

And cuts, with prosp'rous gales, the Ionian seas : 

He leaves Tarentum, favour'd by the wind, 66 

And Thurine bays, and Temises, behind ; 

Soft Sybaris, and all the capes that stand 

Along the shore, he makes in sight of land : 

Still doubling, and still coasting, till he found 

The mouth of iEsaris, and promis'd ground ; 70 

Then saw where on the margin of the flood, 

The tomb, that held the bones of Croton stood : 

Here, by the god's command, he built, and wall'd 

The place predicted ; and Crotona call'd. 

Thus fame from time to time delivers down 75 

The sure tradition of th' Italian town. 

Here dwelt the man divine, whom Samos bore, 

But now self-banish'd from his native shore, 

Because he hated tyrants, nor could bear 

The chains, which none but servile souls will wear : 80 

He, though from heaven remote, to heav'n could move, 

With strength of mind, and tread th' abyss above ; 

And penetrate, with his interior light, 

Those upper depths, which nature hid from sight : 

And what he had observ'd, and learn'd from thence, 

Lov'd in familiar language to dispense. 86 

The crowd with silent admiration stand, 
And heard him as they heard their god's command; 
While he discours'd of heav'n's mysterious laws, 
The world's original, and nature's cause ; 90 

And what was God, and why the fleecy snows 
In silence fell, and rattling winds arose : 
What shook the steadfast earth, and whence begun 
The dance of planets round the radiant sun ; 
If thunder was the voice of angry Jove, 95 

Or clouds, with nitre pregnant, burst above : 
Of these, and things beyond the common reach, 
He spoke, and charm'd his audience with his speech. 

He first the taste of flesh from tables drove, 
And argu'd well, if arguments could move : 100 

• O mortals, from your fellows' blood abstain, 
Nor taint your bodies with a food profane : 
While corn and pulse by nature are bestow'd, 
And planted orchards bend their willing load ; ' 
While labour'd gardens wholesome herbsproduce, 105 


And teeming vines afford their gen 'rous juice; 

Nor tardier fruits of cruder kind are lost, 

But tam'd with fire, or mellow'd by the frost; 

While kine to pails distended udders bring, 

And bees their honey redolent of spring ; 110 

While earth not only can your needs supply, 

But, lavish of her store, provides for luxury : 

A guiltless feast administers with ease, 

And without blood is prodigal to please. 

Wild beasts their maws with their slain brethren fill ; 

And yet not all, for some refuse to kill : 116 

Sheep, goats, and oxen, and the nobler steed, 

On browse, and corn, and flow'ry meadows, feed. 

Bears, tigers, wolves, the lion's angry brood, 

Whom Heav'n endu'd with principles of blood, 120 

He wisely sunder'd from the rest, to yell 

In forests, and in lonely caves to dwell ; 

Where stronger beasts oppress the weak by might, 

And all in prey, and purple feasts delight. 

' impious use : to nature's laws oppos'd, 125 

Where bowels are in other bowels clos'd; 
Where, fatten'd by their fellows' fat, they thrive ; 
Maintain'd by murder, and by death they live. 
'Tis then for nought that mother Earth provides 
The stores of all she shews, and all she hides, 130 
If men with fleshy morsels must be fed, 
And chew, with bloody teeth, the breathing bread: 
What else is this, but to devour our guests, 
And barb'rously renew Cyclopean feasts! 
We, by destroying life, our life sustain ; 135 

And gorge th' ungodly maw with meats obscene. 

' Not so th' Golden Age, who fed on fruit, 
Nor durst with bloody meals their mouths pollute. 
Then birds in airy space might safely move, 
And tirn'rous hares on heaths securely rove: 140 

Nor needed fish the guileful hooks to fear, 
For all was peaceful ; and that peace sincere. 
Whoever was the wretch, (and curs'd be he 
That envy'd first our food's simplicity!) 
Th' essay of bloody feasts on brutes began, 145 

And after forg'd the sword to murder man. 
Had he the sharpen'd steel alone employ'd 

BOOK XV. 381 

On beasts of prey, that other beasts destroy'd, 

Or man invaded with their fangs, and paws, 

This had been justified by nature's laws, 150 

And self-defence : But who did feasts begin 

Of flesh, he stretch'd necessity to sin. 

To kill man-killers, man has lawful pow'r, 

But not th' extended licence, to devour. 

' 111 habits gather by unseen degrees, 155 

As brooks make rivers, rivers run to seas. 
The sow, with her broad snout, for rooting up 
Th' intrusted seed, was judg'd to spoil the crop, 
And intercept the sweating farmer's hope : 
The cov'tous churl, of unforgiving kind, 160 

Th' offender to the bloody priest resign'd: 
Her hunger was no plea: For that she died. 
The goat came next in order, to be tried; 
The goat had cropt the tendrils of the vine : 
In vengeance laity and clergy join, 165 

Where one had lost his profit, one his wine : 
Here was, at least, some shadow of offence : 
The sheep was sacrific'd on no pretence, 
But meek, and unresisting innocence : 
A patient, useful creature, born to bear 170 

The warm and woolly fleece, that cloth'd her mur- 
And daily to give down the milk she bred, [derer ; 
A tribute for the grass on which she fed. 
Living, both food and raiment she supplies, 
And is of least advantage when she dies. 175 

' How did the toiling ox his death deserve, 
A downright simple drudge, and born to serve ? 
O tyrant! with what justice canst thou hope 
The promise of the year, a plenteous crop ; 
When thou destroy'st thy lab'ring steer, who till'd 180 
And plough'd with pains, thy else ungrateful field? 
From his yet reeking neck to draw the yoke, 
That neck, with which the surly clods he broke ; 
And to the hatchet yield thy husbandman, 
Who finish'd Autumn, and the Spring began ! 185 

• Nor this alone ! but Heav'n itself to bribe, 
We to the gods our impious acts ascribe : 
First recompense with death their creatures' toil ; 
Then call the bless'd above to share the spoil : 


The fairest victim must the pow'rs appease, 190 

(So fatal 'tis sometimes too much to please !) 

A purple fillet his broad brows adorns, 

With flow'ry garlands crown'd, and gilded horns : 

He hears the murd'rous pray'r the priest prefers, 

But understands not 'tis his doom he hears : 195 

Beholds the meal betwixt his temples cast 

(The fruit and product of his labours past) ; 

And in the water views perhaps the knife 

Uplifted, to deprive him of his life; 

Then broken up alive, his entrails sees 200 

Torn out, for priests t' inspect the gods' decrees. 

' From whence, O mortal men, this gust of blond 
Have you deriv'd, and interdicted food? 
Be taught by me this dire delight to shun, 
Warn'd by my precepts, by my practice won : 205 
And when you eat the well-deserving beast, 
Think, on the lab'rer of your field you feast ! 
' Now since the god inspires me to proceed, 
Be that, whate'er th' inspiring pow'r, obey'd. 
For I will sing of mighty mysteries ; £10 

Of truths conceal'd, before, from human eyes ; 
Dark oracles unveil, and open all the skies. 
Pleas'd as I am to walk along the sphere 
Of shining stars, and travel with the year; 
To leave the heavy earth, and scale the height 215 
Of Atlas, who supports the heav'nly weight ; 
To look from upper light, and thence survey 
Mistaken mortals wand'ring from the way, 
And wanting wisdom, fearful for the state 
Of future things, and trembling at their fate ! 220 

'Those I would teach, and by right reason bring 
To think of death, as but an idle thing. 
Why thus affrighted at an empty name, 
A dream of darkness, and fictitious flame? 
Vain themes of wit, which but in poem3 pass, 225 
And fables of a world, which never was! 
What feels the body, when the soul expires, 
By time corrupted, or consum'd by fires? 
Nor dies the spirit, but new life repeats 
In other forms, and only changes seats. 230 

E'en I, who these mysterious truths declare, 

BOOK XV. 383 

Was once Euphorbus in the Trojan war; 

My name and lineage I remember well, 

And how in fight by Sparta's king I fell. 

In Argive Juno's fane, I late beheld 235 

My buckler hung on high, and own'd my former shield. 

• Then Death, so call'd, is but old matter drest 
In some new figure, and a varied vest : 

Thus all things are but alter'd, nothing dies; 

And here and there th' unbodied spirit flies, 240 

By time, or force, or sickness dispossest, 

And lodges, where it lights, in man or beast; 

Or hunts without, till ready limbs it find, 

And actuates those according to their kind ; 

From tenement to tenement is tost, 215 

The soul is still the same, the figure only lost: 

And as the soften'd wax new seals receives, 

This face assumes, and that impression leaves ; 

Now call'd by one, now by another name ; 

The form is only chang'd, the wax is still the same : 

So Death, so call'd, can but the form deface ; 251 

Th' immortal soul flies out in empty space, 

To seek her fortune in some other place. 

' Then let not piety be put to flight, 
To please the taste of glutton appetite ; 255 

But suffer inmate souls secure to dwell, 
Lest from their seats your parents you expel ; 
With rapid hunger feed upon your kind, 
Or from a beast dislodge a brother's mind. 

* And since, like Typhis parting from the shore, 260 
In ample seas I sail, and depths untried before, 
This let me further add, that Nature knows 

No steadfast station, but, or ebbs, or flows : 

Ever in motion ; she destroys her old, 

And casts new figures in another mould. 265 

E'en times are in perpetual flux, and run, 

Like rivers from their fountain, rolling on. 

For time, no more than streams, is at a stay ; 

The flying hour is ever on her way : 

And as the fountain still supplies her store, 270 

The wave behind impels the wave before; 

Thus in successive course the minutes run, 


And urge their predecessor minutes on, 

Still moving, ever new : For, former things 

Are set aside, like abdicated king? ; 275 

And ev'ry moment alters what is done, 

And innovates some act till then unknown. 

' Darkness we see emerges into light, 
And shining suns descend to sable night; 
E'en heav'n itself receives another dye, 280 

When wearied animals in slumbers lie 
Of midnight ease : Another, when the gray 
Of morn preludes the splendour of the day. 
The disc of Phoebus, when he climbs on high, 
Appears at first but as a blood-shot eye ; 2S5 

And when his chariot downward drives to bed, 
His ball is with the same suffusion red ; 
But, mounted high in his meridian race, 
All bright he shines, and with a better face : 
For there pure particles of ether flow, 290 

Far from th' infection of the world below. 

■ Nor equal light th' unequal moon adorns, 
Or in her waxing, or her waning horns. 
For ev'ry day she wanes, her face is less ; 
But gath'ring into globe, she fattens at increase. 295 

' Perceiv'st thou not the process of the year, 
How the four seasons in four forms appear, 
Resembling human life in ev'ry shape they wear? 
Spring first, like infancy, shoots out her head, 
With milky juice requiring to be fed : 300 

Helpless, though fresh, and wanting to be led. 
The green stem grows in stature, and in size, 
But only feeds with hope the farmer's eyes ; 
Then laughs the childish year with flowrets 

And lavishly perfumes the fields around, 305 

But no substantial nourishment receives ; 
Infirm the stalks, unsolid are the leaves. 

' Proceeding onward whence the year began, 
The Summer grows adult, and ripens into man. 
This season, as in men, is most replete 310 

With kindly moisture, and prolific heat. 

' Autumn succeeds ; a sober, tepid age, 
Not froze with fear, nor boiling into rage; 

BOOK XV. 385 

More than mature, and tending to decay, 

When our brown locks repine to mix with odious gray. 

' Last, Winter creeps along with tardy pace, 316 
Sour is his front, and furrow'd is his face; 
His scalp, if not dishonour'd quite of hair, 
The ragged fleece is thin ; and thin is worse than bare. 

' E'en our own bodies daily change receive, 320 
Some part of what was theirs before they leave ; 
Nor are to-day what yesterday they were ; 
Nor the whole same to-morrow will appear. 

' Time was when we were sow'd, and just began, 
From some few fruitful drops, the promise of a man : 
Then nature's hand (fermented as it was) 326 

Moulded to shape the soft, coagulated mass : 
And when the little man was fully form'd, 
The breathless embryo with a spirit warm'd ; 
But when the mother's throes begin to come, 330 
The creature, pent within the narrow room, 
Breaks his blind prison, pushing to repair 
His stifled breath, and draw the living air; 
Cast on the margin of the world he lies 
A helpless babe, but he by instinct cries. 335 

He next essays to walk, but downward prest, 
On four feet, imitates his brother beast : 
By slow degrees, he gathers from the ground 
His legs, and to the rolling chair is bound; 
Then walks alone ; a horseman now become, 340 

He rides a stick, and travels round the room. 
In time he vaunts among his youthful peers, 
Strong-bon'd, and strung with nerves, in pride of years. 
He runs with mettle his first merry stage, 
Maintains the next, abated of his rage, 345 

But manages his strength, and spares his age. 
Heavy the third, and stiff he sinks apace, [race. 

And, though 'tis down-hill all, but creeps along the 
Now, sapless, on the verge of death he stands, 
Contemplating his former feet and hands ; 350 

And, Milo-like, his slacken'd sinews sees, 
And wither'd arms, once fit to cope with Hercules, 
Unable now to shake, much less to tear the trees. 

' So Helen wept, when her too faithful glass 
Reflected on her eyes the ruins of her face : 355 



Wond'ring, what charms her ravishers could spy, 
To force her twice, or e' en but once t' enjoy ! 

' Thy teeth, devouring Time, thine, envious Age, 
On things below still exercise your rage : 
With venom'd grinders you corrupt your meat, 360 
And then, at ling'ring meals, the morsels eat. 

f Nor those, which element we call, abide, 
Nor to this figure, nor to that are tied: 
For this eternal world is said of old, 
But four prolific principles to hold, 365 

Four diff'rent bodies ; two to heav'n ascend, 
And other two down to the centre tend : 
Fire first, with wings expanded, mounts on high, 
Pure, void of weight, and dwells in upper sky ; 
Then air, because unclogg'd in empty space, 370 

Flies after fire, and claims the second place: 
But weighty water, as her nature guides, 
Lies on the lap of earth; and mother earth sub- 

* All things are mix'd of these, which all contain, 
And into these are all resolv'd again : 375 
Earth rarifies to dew ; expanded more, 

The subtile dew in air begins to soar; 

Spreads, as she flies, and weary of her name 

Extenuates still, and changes into flame; 

Thus having by degrees perfection won, 380 

Restless, they soon untwist the web they spun, 

And fire begins to lose her radiant hue, 

Mix'd with gross air, and air descends to dew ; 

And dew condensing, does her form forego, 

And sinks, a heavy lump of earth below. 385 

• Thus are their figures never at a stand, 
But chang'd by nature's innovating hand; 
All things are alter'd, nothing is destroy'd, 
The shifted scene for some new show employ'd. 

' Then, to be born, is to begin to be 390 

Some other thing we were not formerly: 
And what we call to die, is not t' appear, 
Nor be the thing that formerly we were. 
Those very elements, which we partake 
Alive, when dead some other bodies make ; 

BOOK XV. 387 

Translated grow, have sense, or can discourse; 
But death, on deathless substance has no force. 

• That forms are chang'd, I grant; that nothing can 
Continue in the figure it began : 

The golden age, to silver was debas'd ; 400 

To copper that ; our metal came at last. 

' The face of places, and their forms, decay ; 
And that is solid earth, that once was sea : 
Seas, in their turn, retreating from the shore, 
Make solid land, what ocean was before ; 405 

And far from strands, are shells of fishes found, 
And rusty anchors fix'd on mountain-ground : 
And what were fields before, now wash'd and worn 
By falling floods from high, to valleys turn, 
And crumbling still descend to level lands; 410 

And lakes and trembling bogs are barren sands ; 
And the parch'd desert floats in streams unknown ; 
Wond'ring to drink of waters not her own. 

• Here nature living fountains opes; and there 
Seals up the wombs where living fountains were ; 415 
Or earthquakes stop their ancient course, and bring 
Diverted streams to feed a distant spring. 

So Licus, swallow'd up, is seen no more, 

But far from thence knocks out another door. 

Thus Erasinus dives; and blind in earth 420 

Runs on, and gropes his way to second birth, 

Starts up in Argos' meads, and shakes his locks 

Around the fields, and fattens all the flocks. 

So Mysus by another way is led, 

And, grown a river, now disdains his head ; 425 

Forgets his humble birth, his name forsakes, 

And the proud title of Caicus takes. 

Large Amenane, impure with yellow sands, 

Runs rapid often, and as often stands, 

And here he threats the drunken fields to drown ; 430 

And there his dugs deny to give their liquor down. 

' Anigros once did wholesome draughts afford, 
But now his deadly waters are abhorr'd : 
Since, hurt by Hercules, as fame resounds, 
The Centaurs in his current wash'd their wounds. 435 
The streams of Hypanis are sweet no more, 
But brackish lose the taste they had before. 


Antissa, Pharos, Tyre, in seas were pent, 

Once isles, but now increase the continent; 

While the Leucadian coast, main land before, 440 

By rushing seas is sever'd from the shore. 

So Zancle to th' Italian earth was tied, 

And men once walk'd where ships at anchor ride, 

Till Neptune overlook'd the narrow way, 

And in disdain pour'd in the conqu'ring sea. 445 

' Two cities that adorn'd th' Achaian ground, 
Buris and Helice, no more are found, 
But whelm'd beneath a lake, are sunk and drown'd; 
And boatsmen through the crystal water shew, 
To wond'ring passengers, the walls below. 450 

' Near Troszen stands a hill, expos'd in air 
To winter winds, of leafy shadows bare : 
This once was level ground : But (strange to tell) 
Th' included vapours, that in caverns dwell, 
Lab'ring with cholic pangs, and close confin'd, 455 
In vain sought issue for the rumbling wind: 
Yet still they heav'd for vent, and heaving still 
Enlarg'd the concave, and shot up the hill ; 
As breath extends a bladder, or the skins 
Of goats are blown t' inclose the hoarded wines: 460 
The mountain yet retains a mountain's face, 
And gather'd rubbish heals the hollow space. 

' Of many wonders, which I heard or knew, 
Retrenching most, I will relate but few : 
What, are not springs with qualities oppos'd, 465 

Endued at seasons, and at seasons lost 1 
Thrice in a day thine, Ammon, change their form, 
Cold at high noon, at morn and evening warm : 
Thine, Athaman, will kindle wood, if thrown 
On the pil'd earth, and in the waning moon. 470 

The Thracians have a stream, if any try 
The taste, hisharden'd bowels petrify; 
Whate'er it touches, it converts to stones, 
And makes a marble pavement where it runs. 

' C rath is, and Sybaris, her sister flood, 475 

That slide through our Calabrian neighbour wood, 
With gold and amber dye the shining hair; 
And thither youth resort: (for who would not be fair?) 
' But stranger virtues yet in streams we find, 

BOOK XV. 389 

Some change not only bodies, but the mind: 480 

Who has not heard of Salmacis obscene, 

Whose waters into women soften men? 

Or ./Ethiopian lakes, which turn the brain 

To madness, or in heavy sleep constrain? 

Clytorian streams the love of wine expel 485 

(Such is the virtue of th' abstemious well), 

Whether the colder nymph that rules the flood 

Extinguishes, and balks the drunken god ; 

Or that Melampus (so have some assur'd), 

When the mad Prostides with charms he cur'd, 490 

And pow'rful herbs, both charms and simples cast 

Into the sober spring, where still their virtues last. 

' Unlike effects Lyncestis will produce ; 
Who drinks his waters, though with mod'rate use, 
Reels as with wine, and sees with double sight; 495 
His heels too heavy, and his head too light. 
Ladon, once Pheneos, an Arcadian stream 
(Ambiguous in th' effects, as in the name), 
By day is wholesome bev'rage ; but is thought 
By night infected, and a deadly draught. 500 

' Thus running rivers, and the standing lake 
Now of these virtues, now of those partake : 
Time was (and all things time and fate obey), 
When fast Ortygia floated on the sea ; 
Such were Cyanean isles, when Typhis steer'd 505 
Betwixt their streights, and their collision fear'd; 
They swam, where now they sit; and firmly join'd, 
Secure of rooting up, resist the wind. 
Nor ./Etna vomiting sulphureous fire 
Will ever belch ; for sulphur will expire 510 

(The veins exhausted of the liquid store). [more. 

Time was, she cast no flames; in time will cast no 

• For whether earth's an animal, and air 
Imbibes, her lungs with coolness to repair, 
And what she sucks, remits; she still requires 515 
Inlets for air, and outlets for her fires; 
When tortur'd with convulsive fits she shakes, 
Thatmotion chokes the vent, till other vent she makes; 
Or when the winds in hollow caves are clos'd, 
And subtile spirits find that way oppos'd, 520 

They toss up flints in air; the flints that hide 


The seeds of fire, thus tost in air, collide, 
Kindling the sulphur, till, the fuel spent, 
The cave is cool'd, and the fierce winds relent. 
Or whether sulphur, catching fire, feeds on 525 

Its unctuous parts, till all the matter gone 
The flames no more ascend ; for earth supplies 
The fat that feeds them; and when earth denies 
That food, hy length of time consum'd, the fire, 
Famish'd for want of fuel, must expire. 530 

' A race of men there are, as fame has told, 
Who, shiv'ring, suffer Hyperborean cold, 
Till nine times bathing in Minerva's lake, 
Soft feathers, to defend their naked sides they take. 
'Tis said, the Scythian wives (believe who will) 535 
Transform'd themselves to birds by magic skill ; 
Smear'd over with an oil of wondrous might, 
That adds new pinions to their airy flight. 

' But this by sure experiment we know, 
That living creatures from corruption grow: 540 

Hide in a hollow pit a slaughter'd steer, 
Bees from his putrid bowels will appear : 
Who, like their parents, haunt the fields, and bring- 
Their honey harvest home, and hope another spring. 
The warlike steel is multiplied, we find, 545 

To wasps, and hornets of the warrior kind. 
Cut from a crab his crooked claws, and hide 
The rest in earth, a scorpion thence will glide 
And shoot his sting, his tail in circles tost, 
Refers the limbs his backward father lost : 550 

And worms that stretch on leaves their filmy loom, 
Crawl from their bags, and butterflies become, 
E'en slime begets the frogs' loquacious race : 
Short of their feet at first, in little space 
With arms and legs endued, long leaps they take, 555 
Rais'd on their hinder part, and swim the lake, 
And waves repel : For nature gives their kind, 
To that intent, a length of legs behind. 

' The cubs of bears a living lump appear, 
When whelp'd, and no determin'd figure wear. 560 
Their mother licks 'em into shape, and gives 
As much of form as she herself receives. 

' The grubs from their sexangular abode 

BOOK XV. 391 

Crawl out unfinish'd like the maggots' brood; 
Trunks without limbs; till time at leisure brings 565 
The thighs they wanted, and their tardy wings. 

• the bird who draws the car of Juno, -vain 
Of her crown'd head, and of her starry train; 
And he that bears th' artillery of Jove, 

The strong-pounc'd eagle, and the billing dove, 570 
And all the feather'd kind, who could suppose 
(But that from sight the surest sense he knows) 
They from th' included yolk, not ambient white arose j 

'There are, who think the marrow of a man, 
Which in the spine, while he was living, ran, 575 
When dead, the pith corrupted will become 
A snake, and hiss within the hollow tomb. 

* All these reoeive their birth from other things: 
But from himself the phoenix only springs; 
Self-born, begotten by the parent flame 5SO 
In which he burn'd, another, and the same; 

Who not by corn or herbs his life sustains, 

But the sweet essence of amomum drains: 

And watches the rich gums Arabia bears, 

While yet in tender dew they drop their tears. 58o 

He (his five centuries of life fulfuTd) 

His nest on oaken boughs begins to build, 

Or trembling tops of palm ; and first he draws 

The plan with his broad bill and crooked claws, 

Nature's artificers; on this the pile 590 

Is form'd, and rises round, then with the spoil 

Of cassia, cinnamon, and stems of nard 

(For softness strew'd beneath), hisfun'ral bed is rear'd, 

Fun'ral and bridal both; and all around ^ 

The borders with corruptless myrrh are crown d, 595 

On this incumbent; till ethereal flame 

First catches, then consumes, the costly frame: 

Consumes him too, as on the pile he lies: 

He liv'd on odours, and in odours dies. 

« An infant phoenix from the former springs, 600 
His father's heir, and from his tender wings 
Shakes off his parent dust, his method he pursues, 
And the same lease of life on the same terms renews. 
When grown to manhood, he begins his reign, 
And with stiff pinions can his flight sustain ; 605 


He lightens of its load the tree that bore 

His father's royal sepulchre before, 

And his own cradle : This (with pious care) 

Plac'd on his back, he cuts the buxom air, 

Seeks the sun's city, and his sacred church, 616 

And decently lays down his burthen in the porch. 

' A wonder more amazing would we find ? 
Th' hyaena shews it, of a double kind, 
Varying the sexes in alternate years, 
In one begets, and in another bears. 615 

The thin chameleon, fed with air, receives 
The colour of the thing to which he cleaves. 

' India, when conquer'd, on the conqu'ring god 
For planted vines the sharp-ey'd lynx bestow'd, 
Whose urine, shed, before it touches earth, 620 

Congeals in air, and gives to gems their birth. 
So coral soft, and white in ocean's bed, 
Comes harden'd up in air, and glows in red. 

• All changing species should my song recite; 
Before I ceas'd would change the day to night. 625 
Nations and empires flourish and decay, 
By turns command, and in their turns obey; 
Time softens hardy people: time again 
Hardens to war a soft, unwarlike train. 
Thus Troy for ten long years her foes withstood, 630 
And daily bleeding, bore th' expense of blood : 
Now for thick streets it shews an empty space, 
Or only fill'd with tombs of her own perish'd race, 
Herself becomes the sepulchre of what she was. 

' Mycene, Sparta, Thebes, of mighty fame, 635 

Are vanish'd out of substance into name. 
And Dardan Rome, that just begins to rise, 
On Tiber's banks, in time shall mate the skies : 
Wid'ning her bounds, and working on her way; 
E'en now she meditates imperial sway: 640 

Yet this is change, but she by changing thrives, 
Like moons new-born, and in her cradle strives 
To fill her infant horns; an hour shall come, 
When the round world shall be contain'd in Rome. 

' For thus old saws foretel, and Helenus 645 

An chises' drooping son enliven'd thus; 
When Ilium now was in a sinking state, 


And he was doubtful of his future fate : 

" O goddess-born, with thy hard fortune strive; 

Troy never can be lost, and thou alive. 650 

Thy passage thou shalt free through fire and sword, 

And Troy in foreign lands shall be restor'd. 

In happier fields a rising town I see, 

Greater than what e'er was, or is, or e'er shall be; 

And heav'n yet owes the world a race deriv'd from 

Sages, and chiefs, of other lineage born, [thee. 655 

The city shall extend, extended shall adorn : 

But trom lulus he must draw his breath, 

By whom thy Rome shall rule the conquer'd earth: 

Whom heav'n will lend mankind on earth to reign, 

And late require the precious pledge again." 661 

This Helenus to great iEneas told, 

Which I retain e'er since in other mould, 

My soul was cloth'd; and now rejoice to view 

My country walls rebuilt, and Troy reviv'd anew, 6C5 

Rais'd by the fall, decreed by loss to gain; 

Enslav'd but to be free, and conquer'd but to reign. 

' Tis time my hard-mouth'd coursers to control, 
Apt to run riot, and transgress the goal : 
And, therefore, I conclude, whatever lies, 670 

In earth, or flits in air, or fills the skies, 
All suffer change ; and we, that are of soul 
And body mix'd, are members of the whole. 
Then when our sires, or grandsires, shall forsake 
The forms of men, and brutal figures take, 675 

Thus hous'd, securely let their spirits rest, 
Nor violate thy father in the beast, 
Thy friend, thy brother, any of thy kin, 
If none of these, yet there's a man within. 
O, spare to make a Thyestsean meal, 680 

T' inclose his body, and his soul expel. 

' 111 customs by degrees to habits rise, 
111 habits soon become exalted vice: 
What more advance can mortals make in sin 
So near perfection who with blood begin ? 6S5 

Deaf to the calf, that lies beneath the knife, 
Looks up, and from her butcher begs her life: 
Deaf to the harmless kid, that ere he dies, 
All methods to procure thy mercy tries, 
S 2 


And imitates, in vain, thy children's cries. 690 

Where will he stop, who feeds with household bread, 

Then eats the poultry which before he fed 1 

Let plow thy steers ; that, when they lose their breath, 

To nature, not to thee, they may impute their death/ 

Let goats for food their loaded udders lend, 695 

And sheep from winter-cold thy sides defend; 

But neither springes, nets, nor snares employ, 

And be no more ingenious to destroy. 

Free as in air let birds on earth remain, 

Nor let insidious glue their wings constrain : 700 

Nor op'ning hounds the trembling stag affright, 

Nor purple feathers intercept his flight: 

Nor hooks conceal'd in baits for fish prepare, 

Nor lines to heave 'em twinkling up in air. 

' Take not away the life you cannot give, 705 

For all things have an equal right to live. 
Kill noxious creatures, where 'tis sin to save; 
This only just prerogative we have: 
But nourish life with vegetable food, 
And shun the sacrilegious taste of blood.' 710 

These precepts by the Samian sage were taught, 
Which god-like Numa to the Sabines brought, 
And thence transferred to Rome, by gift his own : 
A willing people, and an offerd throne. 
O happy monarch, sent by heav'n to bless 7if> 

A salvage nation with soft arts of peace ! 
To teach religion, rapine to restrain, 
Give laws to lust, and sacrifice ordain: 
Himself a saint, a goddess was his bride, 
And all the muses o'er bis acts preside. 720 

Advanc'd in years he died; one common date 
His reign concluded, and his mortal state. 
Then tears plebeians, and patricians shed, 
And pious matrons wept their monarch dead. 
His mournful wife her sorrows to bewail, 725 

Withdrew from Rome, and sought th' Arician vale: 
Hid in thick woods she made incessant moans, 
Disturbing Cynthia's sacred rites with groans. 
How oft the nymphs, who rul'd the wood and lake, 

BOOK XV. 395 

ReprovM her tears, and words of comfort spake ! 730 

How oft (in -vain) the son of Theseus said, 

Thy stormy sorrows be with patience laid ; 

Nor are thy fortunes to be wept alone, 

Weigh others' woes, and learn to bear thine own. 

Be mine an instance to assuage thy grief : 735 

Would mine were none ! — yet mine may bring relief. 

You've heard perhaps, in conversation told, 
What once befel Hippolytus of old ; 
To death by Theseus' easy faith betray'd, 
And caught in snares his wicked step-dame laid. 740 
The wondrous tale your credit scarce may claim, 
Yet (strange to say) in me behold the same, 
Whom lustful Phaedra oft had press'd in vain, 
With impious joys my father's bed to stain ; 
Till seiz'd with fear, or by revenge inspir'd, 745 

She charg'd on me the crimes herself desir'd. 
Expell'd by Theseus, from his home I fled 
With heaps of curses on my guiltless head. 
Forlorn I sought Pitthe'an Troszen's land, 
And drove my chariot o'er Corinthus' strand ; 750 
When from the surface of the level main 
A billow rising, heav'd above the plain ; 
Rolling, and gath'ring, till so high it swell'd, 
A mountain's height th' enormous mass excell'd: 
Then bellowing burst; when from the summit cleav'd 
A horned bull his ample chest upheav'd. 756 

His mouth and nostrils, storms of briny rain, 
Expiring, blew. Dread horror seiz'd my train ; 
I stood unmov'd: my father's cruel doom 
Claim'd all my soul, nor fear could find a room. 760 
Amaz'd, awhile my trembling coursers stood 
With prick'd-up ears, contemplating the flood; 
Then starting sudden from the dreadful view, 
At once, like lightning, from the seas they flew, 
And o'er the craggy rocks the rattling chariot drew. 
In vain to stop the hot mouth'd steeds I try'd, 766 
And bending backwards all my strength apply'd; 
The frothy foam in driving flakes distains 
The bits and bridles, and bedews the reins. 
But though, as yetuntam'd they ran, at length 770 
Their heady rage had tir'd beneath my strength, 


When in the spokes, a stump entangling, tore 
The shatter'd wheel, and from its axle bore. 
The shock impetuous toss'd me from my seat, 
Caught in the reins beneath my horses' feet. 775 

My reeking guts dragg'd out alive, around 
The jagged stump my trembling nerves were wound. 
Then stretch'd the well-knit limbs, in pieces hal'd, 
Part stuck behind, and part the chariot trail'd; 
Till, 'midst my cracking joints, and breaking bones, 
I breath'd away my wearied soul in groans. 781 

No part distinguished from the rest was found, 
But all my parts a universal wound. 

Now say, self-tortured nymph, can you compare 
Our griefs as equal, or in justice dare 1 785 

I saw, besides, the darksome realms of woe, 
And bath'd my wounds in smoking streams below. 
There I had stay'd, nor second life enjoy'd, 
But Paean's son his wondrous art employ'd. 
To light restor'd, by medicinal skill, 790 

In spite of fate, and rigid Pluto's will, 
Th' invidious object to preserve from view, 
A misty cloud around me Cynthia threw; 
And lest my sight should stir my foes to rage, 
She stamp'd my visage with the marks of age. 795 
My former hue was chang'd, and for it shewn 
A set of features, and a face unknown. 
Awhile the goddess stood in doubt, or Crete, 
Or Delos' Isle, to choose for my retreat. 
Delos and Crete refus'd, this wood she chose, 800 
Bade me my former luckless name depose, 
Which kept alive the mem'ry of my woes; 
Then said, Immortal life be thine; and thou, 
Hippolytus once call'd, be Virbius now. 
Here then a god, but of th' inferior race, 805 

I serve my goddess, and attend her chace. 

But other's woes were useless to appease 
Egeria's grief, or set her mind at ease. 
Beneath the hill, all comfortless she laid, 
The dropping tears her eyes incessant shed, 810 

'Till pitying Phoebe eas'd her pious woe, 
Thaw'd to a spring, whose streams for ever flow. 
The nymphs, and Virbius, like amazement fill'd, 

BOOK XV. 397 

As seiz'd the swains who Tyrrhene furrows till'd; 
When heaving up, a clod was seen to roll, 815 

Untouch'd, self-mov'd, and big with human soul. 
The spreading mass its former shape depos'd, 
Began to shoot, and arms and legs disclos'd, 
Till form'd a perfect man, the living mould 
Op'd its new mouth, and future truths foretold ; 820 
And Tages nam'd by natives of the place, 
Taught arts prophetic to the Tuscan race. 

Or such as once by Romulus was shewn, 
Who saw his lance with sprouting leaves o'er-grown, 
When fix'd on earth the point began to shoot, 825 
And, growing downward, turned a fibrous root; 
While spread aloft, the branching arms display'd, 
O'er wond'ring crowds, an unexpected shade. 

Or as when Cippus in the current view'd 
The shooting horns that on his forehead stood, 830 
His temples first he feels, and with surprise 
His touch confirms th' assurance of his eyes. 
Straight to the skies his horned front he rears, 
And to the gods directs these pious pray'rs : 
If this portent be prosp'rous, O, decree 835 

To Rome th' event: if otherwise, to me. 

An altar then of tuTf he hastes to raise, 
Rich gums in fragrant exhalations blaze ; 
The panting entrails crackle as they fry, 
And boding fumes pronounce a mystery. 840 

Soon as the augur saw the holy fire, 
And victims with presaging signs expire, 
To Cippus then he turns his eyes with speed, 
And views the horny honours of his head : 
Then cry'd, Hail, conqueror! thy call obey; 845 

Those omens I behold, presage thy sway. 
Rome waits thy nod, unwilling to be free, 
And owns thy sov'reign pow'r as fate's decree. 

He said;— and Cippus, starting at th' event, 
Spoke in these words his pious discontent : 850 

Far hence, ye gods, this execration send ; 
And the great race of Romulus defend. 
Better that I in exile live abhorr'd, 
Then e'er the Capitol should style me lord. 


This spoke, he hides with leaves his omen'd head, 
Then prays ; the senate next convenes, and said ; 856 

If augurs can foresee, a wretch is come, 
Oesign'd by destiny the bane of Rome. 
Two horns (most strange to tell) his temples crown : 
If e'er he pass the walls, and gain the town, 860 

Your laws are forfeit, that ill-fated hour-; 
And liberty must yield to lawless pow'r. 
Your gates he might have enter'd ; but this arm 
Seiz'd the usurper, and withheld the harm. 
Haste, find the monster out, and let him be 865 

Condemn'd to all the senate can decree ; 
Or tied in chains, or into exile thrown ; 
Or by the tyrant's death prevent your own. 

The crowd such murmurs utter as they stand, 
As swelling surges breaking on the strand: 870 

Or as when gath'ring gales sweep o'er the grove, 
And their tall heads the bending cedars move. 
Each with confusion gaz'd, and then began 
To feel his fellow's brows ; and find the man. 
Cippus then shakes his garland off, and cries, 875 
The wretch you want, I ofler to your eyes. 

The anxious throng look'd down, and sad in thought, 
All wish'd they had not found the sign they sought; 
In haste with laurel wreaths his head they bind ; 
Such honour to such virtue was assign'd. 880 

Then thus the senate:— Hear, O Cippus, hear; 
So godlike is thy tutelary care, 
That since in Rome thyself forbids thy stay, 
For thy abode those acres we convey 
The ploughshare can surround, the labour of a day. 
In deathless records thou sbalt stand enroll'd, 886 
And Rome's rich posts shall shine with horns of gold. 

Melodious maids of Pindus, who inspire 
The flowing strains, and tune the vocal lyre ; 
Tradition's secrets are unlock'd to you, 890 

Old tales revive, and ages past renew ; 
You, who can hidden causes best expound, 
Say, whence the isle which Tiber flows around, 
Its altars with a heav'nly stranger grac'd, 
And in our shrines the god of Physic plac'd. 895 

A wasting plague infected Latium's skies ; 

BOOK XV. 399 

Pale, bloodless looks were seen, with ghastly eyes; 

The dire disease's marks each visage wore, 

And the pure blood was chang'd to putrid gore : 

In vain were human remedies applied : 900 

In vain the pow'r of healing herbs was tried; 

Wearied with death, they seek celestial aid, 

And visit Phoebus in his Delphic shade ; 

In the world's centre sacred Delphos stands, 

And gives its oracles to distant lands : 905 

Here they implore the god, with fervent vows, 

His salutary pow'r to interpose, 

And end a great afflicted city's woes. 

The holy temple sudden tremors prov'd : 

The laurel grove and all its quivers mov'd; 910 

In hollow sounds the priestess thus began ; 

And through each bosom thrilling horrors ran : — 

' Th' assistance, Roman, which you here implore, 

Seek from another, and a nearer shore ; 

Relief must be implor'd and sixccour won, 915 

Not from Apollo, but Apollo's son ; 

My son, to Latium borne, shall bring redress : 

Go, with good omens, and expect success.' 

When these clear oracles the senate knew ; 
The sacred tripod's counsels they pursue ; 920 

Depute a pious and a chosen band, 
Who sail to Epidaurus' neighb'ring land: 
Before the Grecian elders when they stood, 
They pray 'em to bestow the healing god ; 
' Ordain'd was he to save Ausonia's state : 925 

So promis'd Delphi, and unerring fate.' 
Opinions various their debates enlarge : 
Some plead to yield to Rome the sacred charge; 
Others, tenacious of their country's wealth, 
Refuse to grant the pow'r who guards its health. 930 

While dubious they remain'd, the wasting light 
Withdrew before the growing shades of night. 
Thick darkness now obscur'd the dusky skies : 
Now, Roman, clos'd in sleep were mortal eyes, 
When health's auspicious god appears to thee, 935 
And thy glad dreams his form celestial see : 
In his left hand, a rural staff preferr'd, 
His right is seen to stroke his decent beard. 


' Dismiss (said he, with mildness all divine), 
Dismiss your fears; I come and leave my shrine; 940 
This serpent view, that with ambitious play 
My staff encircles, mark him ev'ry way : 
His form though larger, nobler, I'll assume, 
And chang'd as gods should be, bring aid to Rome.' 
Here fled the vision ; and the vision's flight 915 

Was follow'd by the cheerful dawn of light. 

Now was the morn with blushing streaks o'erspread, 
And all the starry fires of heav'n were fled; 
The chiefs perplex'd, and fill'd with doubtful care, 
To their protector's sumptuous roofs repair, 950 

By genuine signs implore him to express, 
What seats he deigns to choose, what land to bless ; 
Scarce their ascending pray'rshad reach'dthe sky; 
Lo, the serpentine god erected high! 
Forerunning hissings his approach confess'd; 955 

Bright shone his golden scales, and wav'd his lofty 
The trembling altar his appearance spoke: [crest. 
The marble floor, and glitt'ring ceiling shook ; 
The doors were rock'd ; the statue seem'd to nod ; 
And all the fabric own'd the present god : 960 

His radiant chest he taught aloft to rise, 
And round the temple cast his flaming eyes : 
Struck with th' astonish'd crowd, the holy priest 
His temples with white bands of ribbon dress'd, 
With rev'rent awe the pow'r divine confess'd: 965 
' The god! the god! (he cries ;) all tongues be still! 
Each conscious breast devoutest ardour fill! 
O beauteous ! O divine ! assist our cares, 
And be propitious to thy vot'ries' pray'rs!' 
All with consenting hearts, and pious fear, 970 

The words repeat, the deity revere ; 
The Romans in their holy worship join 'd, 
With silent awe and purity of mind: 
Gracious to them, his crest is seen to nod, 
And, as an earnest of his care, the god, 975 

Thrice hissing, vibrates thrice his forked tongue. 
And now the smooth descent he glides along ; 
Still on the ancient seats he bends his eyes, 
In which his statue breathes, his altars rise; 
His long-lo v'd shrine with kind concern he leaves, 980 

BOOK XV. 401 

And to forsake th' accustom 'd mansion grieves; 
At length, his sweeping bulk in state is borne 
Through the throng'd streets, which scatter'd flow'rs 

Through many a fold he winds his mazy course, 
And gains the port, and moles, which break the 

ocean's force. 985 

'Twas here he made a stand, and having view'd 
The pious train, who his last steps pursu'd, 
Seem'd to dismiss their zeal, with gracious eyes, 
While gleams of pleasure in his aspect rise. 

And now the Latian vessel he ascends ; 990 

Beneath the weighty god the vessel bends : 
The Latins on the strand great Jove appease, 
Their cables loose, and plough the yielding seas ; 
The high-rear'd serpent from the stern displays 
His gorgeous form, and the blue deep surveys ; 995 
The ship is wafted on with gentle gales, 
And o'er the calm Ionian smoothly sails : 
On the sixth morn, th' Italian coast they gain, 
And touch Lacuna, grac'd with Juno's fane; 
Now fair Calabria to the sight is lost, 1000 

And all the cities on her fruitful coast; 
They pass at length the rough Sicilian shore, 
The Brutian soil, rich with metallic ore, 
The famous isles where iEblus was king, 
And Paestus blooming with eternal spring: 1005 

Minerva's cape they leave, and Capreae's isle, 
Campania, on whose hills the vineyards smile, 
The city which AlcideV spoils adorn, 
Naples, for soft delight and pleasure born ; 
Fair Stabiae, with Cumean Sibyls' seats, 1010 

And Ba'ia's tepid baths, and green retreats: 
Linternum next they reach, where balmy gums 
Distil from mastic-trees, and spread perfumes : 
Caieta, from the nurse so nam'd, for whom, 
With pious care, iEneas rais'd a tomb; 1015 

Vulturne, whose whirlpools suck the numerous sands, 
And Trachas, and Mintumae's marshy lands, 
And Formiae's coast is left, and Circe's plain, 
Which yet remembers her enchanting reign ; 
To Antium, last, his course the pilot guides ; 1020 


Here, while the anchor'd vessel safely rides 
(For now the ruffled deep portends a storm), 
The spiry god unfolds his spheric form 
Through large indentings draws his luoric train, 
And seeks the refuge of Apollo's fane. inog 

The fane is situate on the yellow shore 

H?f p n J h \ Se % S ?5 d .' aUd the Winds ra S' d no more, 
He leaves Ins father's hospitable lands, 

And furrows, with his rattling scales, the sands 

Along the coasts ; at length the ship regains, 1030 

And sails to Tiber, and Lavinum's plains. 

Here mingling crowds to meet their patron came, 

h en the chaste guardians of the Vestal flame- 

From ev'ry part tumultuous they repair, 

And joyful acclamations rend the air: ' 1035 

Along the flow'ry banks, on either side, 

Where the tall ship floats on the swelling tide, 

Uispos'd in decent order, altars rise- 

And crackling incense, as it mounts' the skies, 

The air with sweets refreshes; while the knife, 1040 

Warm withtte victim's blood, lets out the streaming 

The world's great mistress, Rome, receives him now • 
On the mast's top reclin'd, he waves his brow, 
And from that height surveys the great abodes, 
And mansions, worthy of residing gods. 1045 

The land, a narrow neck, itself extends 
Round which his course the stream divided bends ; 
Ihe stream s two arms, on either side, are seen, 
Stretch d out in equal length; the land between. 
Ihe isle, so call'd, from hence derives its name : 1050 
1 was here the salutary serpent came ; 
Nor sooner has he left the Latian pine, 
But he assumes again his form divine, 
And now no more the drooping city mourns, 
Joy is again restor'd, and health returns. 1055 

But iEsculapius was a foreign power : 
In his own city, Ccesar we adore : 
Him arms and arts alike renown'd beheld, 
In peace conspicuous, dreadful in the field'; 
His rapid conquests, and swift-finish'd war's, 106O 

BOOK XV. 403 

The hero justly fix'd among the stars; 

Yet is his progeny his greatest fame : 

The son immortal makes the father's name. 

The sea-girt Britons, by his courage tam'd, 

For their high rocky cliffs, and fierceness fam'd ; 1065 

His dreadful navies, which victorious rode 

O'er Nile's affrighted waves and seven-sourc'd flood ; 

Numidia, and the spacious realms regain'd; 

Where Cinyphis or flows, or Juba reign'd; 

The pow'rs of titled Mithridates broke, 1070 

And Pontus added to the Roman yoke; 

Triumphal shows decreed, for conquests won, 

For conquests, which the triumphs still outshone; 

These are great deeds; yet less than to have giv'n 

The world a lord, in whom, propitious heav'n, 1075 

When you decreed the sov'reign rule to place, 

You bless'd with lavish bounty human race. 

Now, lest so great a prince might seem to rise 
Of mortal stem, his sire must reach the skies; 
The beauteous goddess that iEneas bore ; 1090 

Foresaw it, and, foreseeing, did deplore ; 
For well she knew her hero's fate was nigh, 
Devoted by conspiring arms to die. 
Trembling, and pale, to ev'ry god she cry'd, 
Behold, what deep and subtle arts are tried, 1085 

To end the last, the only branch that springs 
From my llilus, and the Dardan kings ! 
How bent they are ! how desp'rate to destroy 
All that is left me of unhappy Troy ! 
Am I alone by Fate ordain'd to know 1090 

Uninterrupted care, and endless woe 1 
Now from TydideV spear I feel the wound : 
Now Ilium's tow'rs the hostile flames surround : 
Troy laid in dust, my exil'd son I mourn, 
Through angry seas, and raging billows borne ; 1095 
O'er the wide deep his wand'ricg course he bends ; 
Now to the sullen shades of Styx descends. 
With Turnus driv'n at last fierce wars to wage, 
Or rather with unpitying Juno's rage. 
But why record I now my ancient woes % 1100 

Sense of past ills in present fear3 I lose; 


On me their points the impious daggers throw; 

Forbid it, gods, repel the direful blow : 

If by curst weapons Numa's priest expires, 

No longer shall ye bum, ye vestal fires. 1105 

While such complainings Cypria's grief disclose ; 
In each celestial breast compassion rose : 
Nor gods can alter fate's resistless will ; 
Yet they foretold, by signs, th' approaching ill. 
Dreadful were heard, among the clouds, alarms 1110 
Of echoing trumpets, and of clashing arms; 
The sun's pale image gave so faint a light, 
That the sad earth was almost veil'd in night ; 
The ^Ether's face with fiery meteors glow'd ; 
With storms of hail were mingled drops of blood ! 
A dusky hue the morning star o'erspread, 1116 

And the moon's orb was stain'd with spots of red ; 
In ev'ry place portentous shrieks were heard, 
The fatal warnings of th' infernal bird : 
In ev'ry place the marble melts to tears ; 1120 

While in the groves, rever'd through length of years, 
Boding, and awful sounds, the ear invade ; 
And solemn music warbles through the shade; 
No victim can atone the impious age, 
No sacrifice the wrathful gods assuage ; 1125 

Dire wars and civil fury threat the state : 
And ev'ry omen points out Cjesar's fate: 
Around each hallow'd shrine and sacred dome, 
Night-howling dogs disturb the peaceful gloom; 
Their silent seats the wand'ring shades forsake, 1130 
And fearful tremblings the rock'd city shake. 

Yet could not, by these prodigies, be broke 
The plotted charm, or staid the fatal stroke ; 
Their swords th' assassins in the temple draw; 
Their murd'ring hands nor gods nor temples awe; 1135 
This sacred place their bloody weapons stain, 
And virtue falls before the altar slain. 
'Twas now fair Cypria, with her woes opprest, 
In raging anguish smote her heav'nly breast ; 
While with distracting tears the goddess try'd 1140 
Her hero in th' ethereal cloud to hide, 
The cloud which youthful Paris did conceal, 
When Menelaus urg'd the threat'ning steel I 

BOOK XV. 405 

The cloud, which once deceiv'd Tydides sight, 

And sav'd ^Eneas in th' unequal fight. 1145 

When Jove : — • In vain, fair daughter, you essay 
To o'er-rule destiny's unconquer'd sway : 
Your doubts to banish, enter Fate's abode: 
A privilege to heav'nly pow'rs allow'd; 
There shall you see the records grav'd in length, 1150 
On ir'n and solid brass, with mighty strength ; 
Which heav'n's and earth's concussions shall endure, 
Maugre all shocks, eternal, and secure : 
There, on perennial adamant design'd, 
The various fortunes of your race you'll find : 1155 
Well I have mark'd 'em, and will now relate 
To thee the settled laws of future fate. 

* He, goddess, for whose death the fates you blame, 
Has finish'd his determin'd course with fame : 
To thee 'tis giv'n, at length that he shall shine 1160 
Among the gods, and grace the worshipp'd shrine : 
His sen to all his greatness shall be heir, 
And worthily succeed to empire's care : 
Our self will lead his wars, resolv'd to aid 
The brave avenger of his father's shade: 1165 

To him its freedom Mutina shall owe, 
And Decius his auspicious conduct know: 
His dreadful pow'rs shall shake Pharsalia's plain, 
And drench in gore Philippi's fields again: 
A mighty leader in Sicilia's flood, 1170 

Great Pompey's warlike son shall be subdu'd- 
iEgypt's soft queen, adorn'd with fatal charms, 
Shall mourn her soldier's unsuccessful arms : 
Too late shall find, her swelling hopes were vain, 
And know, that Rome o'er Memphis still must reign : 
Why name I Afric or Nile's hidden head ? 1176 

Far as both oceans roll, his pow'r shall spread : 
All the known earth to him shall homage pay, 
And the seas own his universal sway : 
When cruel war no more disturbs mankind ; 1180 
To civil studies shall he bend his mind, 
With equal justice guardian laws ordain, 
And, by his great example, vice restrain : 
Where will his bounty or his goodness end? 


To times unborn his gen'rous views extend; 1185 

The virtues of his heir our praise engage, 

And promise blessings to the coming age : 

Late shall he in his kindred orbs be plac'd, 

With Pylian years, and crouded honours grac'd. 

Meantime, your hero's fleeting spirit bear, 1190 

Fresh from his wounds, and change it to a star: 

So shall great Julius rites divine assume, 

And from the skies eternal smile on Rome.' 

This spoke ; the goddess to the senate flew : 1194 
Where, her fair form conceal'd from mortal view, 
Her Cesar's heav'nly part she made her care, 
Nor left the recent soul to waste to air, 
But bore it upwards to its native skies : 
Glowing with new-born fires she saw it rise • 
Forth springing from her bosom up it flew, 1200 

And, kindling, as it soar'd, a comet grew ; 
Above the lunar sphere it took its flight, 
And shot behind it a long trail of light. 

Thus rais'd, his glorious offspring Julius view'd, 
Beneficently great, and scatt'ring good, 1205 

Deeds, that his own surpass'd, with joy beheld 
And his large heart dilates to be excell'd. 
What, though this prince refuses to receive 
The preference, which his juster subjects give • 
Fame uncontroll'd, that no restraint obeys, 1210 

The homage, shunn'd by modest virtue, pays, 
And proves disloyal only in his praise. 
Though great his sire, him greater we proclaim : 
So Atreus yields to Agamemnon's fame; 
Achilles so superior honours won, 1215 

And Peleus must submit to Peleus' son; 
Examples yet more noble to disclose, 
So Saturn was eclips'd, when Jove to empire rose : 
Jove rules the heav'ns ; the earth Augustus sways ; 
Each claims a monarch's and a father's praise. 1220 

Celestials, who for Rome your cares employ; 
Ye gods, who guarded the remains of Troy ; 
Ye native gods, here born and fix'dby fate; 
Quirinus, founder of the Roman state; 
O parent Mars, from whom Quirinus sprung; 

BOOK XV. 407 

Chaste Vesta, Caesar's household gods among K25 
Most sacred held ; domestic Phoebus, thou, 
To whom with Vesta chaste alike we bow ; 
Great guardian of the high Tarpeian rock ; 
And all ye pow'rs whom poets may invoke; 
O, grant that day may claim our sorrows late, 
When lov'd Augustus shall submit to fate ; 1230 

Visit those seats where gods and heroes dwell ; 
And leave, in tears, the world he rul'd so well. 

The work is finish'd, which nor dreads the rage 
Of tempests, fire, or war, or wasting age : 1236 

Come, soon or late, death's undetermin'd day, 
This mortal being only can decay; 
My nobler part, my fame, shall reach the skies, 
And to late times, with blooming honours rise : 12 10 
Whate'er th' unbounded Roman pow'r obeys, 
All climes, and nations, shall record my praise : 
If 'tis allow'd to poets to divine, 
One half of round eternity is mine. 


Printed by J. F.DovE,St. John's Square.